Super Tuesday Preview: Massachusetts

Yahoo Contributor Network

Next week is Super Tuesday, the biggest prize on the primary calendar. Ten states and more than 400 delegates are up for grabs. Here's a look at Massachusetts, which once elected Mitt Romney to be its chief executive, and now has another opportunity to vote for him.

* Four years ago, Romney won his home state over Sen. John McCain, but that did not stop McCain from taking the nomination.

* Romney's three remaining rivals, Sen. Rick Santorum, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, have not seriously competed against him in what is essentially a second home state for the former governor.

* Massachusetts sends 41 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Each of the state's 9 congressional districts has 3 delegates each. Eleven delegates are at-large, and 3 delegates (state Republican party leaders) are officially unpledged and can vote however they wish at the convention.

* Delegates are assigned proportionally to all candidates that meet a minimum 15 percent threshold. A special Allocation Committee will meet after the primary to determine how to apportion the delegates based on district and statewide vote totals.

* Registered Massachusetts voters who are affiliated with a party may only vote in their party primary, if there is one. Independent voters may go to the polls and choose which ballot they wish to cast when they arrive.

* Of the eight major candidates who initially ran for the Republican presidential nomination, seven of them will appear on the primary ballot. The only exception is Herman Cain. The last date for candidates to remove their name from the ballot passed on January 13.

* Absentee ballots must be received by the close of the polls on Election Day. Polls in Massachusetts close at 7pm. Absentee ballots from voters living outside the United States must be received no later than 10 days past Election Day, with a postmark no later than Election Day itself.

* To no one's surprise, the Republican contest isn't much of a contest. A poll conducted in February by Suffolk University/Channel 7 found that Massachusetts voters remain sympathetic to their former governor. Mitt Romney was the preferred candidate of 64 percent of likely Massachusetts primary voters. Sen. Rick Santorum trailed Romney by 48 points, scoring only 16 percent, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in single digits.

* If Santorum's support falters, and no other candidate secures at least 15 percent of the statewide vote, all of the state's delegates will be awarded to Romney by default, regardless of his result.

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