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Why did former presidential candidates appear on Arizona primary ballots?

A voter leaves after casting her ballot in Arizona's presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — If you casted a vote in Tuesday’s presidential preference election in Arizona, you may have noticed candidates on the ballot who are no longer running for president.

That included Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side and candidates such as Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson on the Republican side.

Eric Spencer, election director for the state of Arizona, said the reason they stayed on the ballot is because those candidates suspend their campaign as opposed to officially ending it.

“They’ve never really dropped out,” he said. “It would be really unfair and legally unwise for us to remove a candidate from the ballot if technically, their campaign is still alive.”

Spencer said candidates suspend their campaign so they can raise money to pay off debts, even though they are no longer actively campaigning. He also said once candidates qualify for the Arizona ballot, they stay on all the way until election day.

“It’s really incumbent upon the voter to keep up with the last minute twists and turns of the race,” Spencer said. “If there was a legal and practical way for us to direct the counties to take names off the ballot, we would, but that’s just not how it works in Arizona.”

Spencer added that ballots are printed well in advance, saying it is practically impossible to make last minute changes to a ballot, whether it be an early ballot or an election day ballot.

Tuesday’s primary caused a lot of anger and confusion for voters, who waited hours in line to cast their ballot even after the race was called. Donald Trump took home the state for the Republicans, while Hillary Clinton won big for the Democrats.

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