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Voters sometimes complain that they feel like their vote doesn't count. That is literally true in the ongoing by-mail municipal primary in Stockton, population 616, in Tooele County.

Candidate Joseph M. Johnston dropped out of the Town Council race there after the ballots were mailed out. That left four candidates for two open positions.

"So technically, they didn't have to have a primary" to narrow the field, said Tooele County Clerk-Auditor Marilyn Gillette, whose office is handling the election for Stockton.

"Any votes for [Johnston] won't count," she said.

But the county will tally the other votes anyway. "I told them that at least now you'll know that whoever comes in last needs to really campaign" before the Nov. 3 general election, she said.

Gillette said that Johnston "went onto the state website and was looking at the qualifications and realized he did not meet them." Candidates must reside at least 12 months in the jurisdiction where they are running.

"It's on the filing form," Gillette said, "but somehow it was missed."

Ballots had already been mailed — and some returned — before Johnston withdrew.

The now-moot primary will cost Stockton about $1,500, Gillette estimated.

Lee Davidson