5 Fast Facts Super Tuesday

What is Super Tuesday; which states vote; how does it work?

You’ve heard about Super Tuesday, increasingly so in the past couple of weeks, but just what happens on that day and why is it important?

Here’s a primer to help explain.

What is Super Tuesday?

It’s the day in the election cycle when Democrats and Republicans hold the most primary votes on one day.

When is it?

Tuesday,  March 1.

Why is it called that?

It’s called Super Tuesday because there are a super amount of delegates to be awarded – so many, in fact, that if one candidate gets the lions-share then they are well on their way to their party’s nomination. Some now call it the S.E.C. (Southeastern Conference) primary because of the number of southern states holding their primaries that day.

Why do states have primaries mashed up on one day?

Super Tuesday began as a counter-punch, in essence. Not happy with the fact that Iowa is always the first to vote and that the state is not considered very representative of the United States (demographics-wise),  Southern politicians decided that in 1988 there would be a mass-primary plan that would blunt the “Iowa syndrome.” According to former Sen. Chuck Robb (R-Va.), one of the architects of the plan,  Super Tuesday was meant to make the contest more than one about a specific state and it’s issues, expanding the discussion to topics that affect the entire United States.

Which states are holding primaries or caucusing on Tuesday?

On the Republican side -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota  and Minnesota are holding caucuses.

On the Democratic side -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Colorado, Minnesota and the US territory of American Samoa are caucusing. Democrats who are register in the United States but live abroad will submit their votes by Tuesday evening.

What’s at stake?

Delegates to the two national nominating conventions. You need delegates to win the nomination, and on Super Tuesday there are going to be nearly 1,700 up for grabs – 1,034 for the Democrats, 661 for the Republicans. Here’s a breakdown of how many delegates are going to be awarded per state:

For the Republicans

Alabama – 50

Alaska – 28

Arkansas – 40

Colorado – 37  - Colorado will caucus, but its  delegates will  be  awarded at a later date.

Georgia – 76

Massachusetts – 42

Minnesota – 38

North Dakota – 28

Oklahoma – 43

Tennessee – 58

Texas – 155

Vermont – 16

Virginia – 49

Wyoming – 29 – Delegates to be assigned  later.

For the Democrats

Alabama – 60 – with 7 being Superdelegates

American Samoa – 10 – with 4 being Superdelegates

Arkansas – 37 – with 5 being Superdelegates

Colorado – 79 – with 13 being Superdelegates

Georgia – 116 – with 14 being Superdelegates

Massachusetts – 116 --  with 25 being Superdelegates

Minnesota – 93 – with 16 being Superdelegates

Oklahoma – 42 – with 4 being Superdelegates

Tennessee – 76 – with 9 being Superdelegates

Texas – 252 – with 30 being Superdelegates

Vermont – 26 – with 10 being Superdelegates

Virginia – 110 – with 15 being Superdelegates

Democrats abroad – 29

What is a Superdelegate?

A  Superdelegate is a person who may vote for whichever candidate they wish. They are not tied to the votes in their state when it comes to casting a ballot at the  nominating conventions. Only the Democrats have this system. A Superdelegate is either: a Democratic senator  or House of Representatives member; a notable member of the party, such as a current or former president;  or a member of the Democratic National Committee.

How many delegates are needed to win the nomination?

For Democrats, 2,383; for Republicans, 1,237.

Anything different with this year’s Super Tuesday?

Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas have all moved their primaries to Super Tuesday.

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