What is Super Tuesday? Everything you need to know as US voters in 16 states choose presidential nominees

5 March 2024, 18:10

Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be hoping to pick up many delegates on Super Tuesday
Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be hoping to pick up many delegates on Super Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Millions of US voters will have their say on the presidential nominee today in what is traditionally called Super Tuesday.

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Voters in several US states have already chosen who they think should be the Republican and Democrat candidates for the presidential election in November.

Former president Donald Trump and current incumbent Joe Biden already look like the runaway favourites to get their party's nominations after several primary votes.

But there is still time for an upset, and room for challengers to cause a surprise.

The race to secure the nominations will be more clearly defined after the Super Tuesday primary results come in, in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Voters go to the polls in 16 states across the US on Super Tuesday
Voters go to the polls in 16 states across the US on Super Tuesday. Picture: Getty

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is when voters in 16 states and one US territory cast their ballots for the presidential nominees on the same day.

Super Tuesday is almost always the first Tuesday in March.

Some states are also choosing the people that they want to run for governor or senator for their state, as well as some district attorneys.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Picture: Getty

What happens on Super Tuesday?

Both Republicans and Democrats cast their ballots to decide who they want to run for president and other offices.

After the votes have been counted up, delegates are awarded.

Delegates are people chosen to represent their community at the party conventions, and they choose the candidate to represent their party on the November ballot.

To get their party's nomination, candidates need a majority of delegates to choose them.

Super Tuesday has the most delegates at stake of any date: 854 of 2429 Republican delegates - more than 35% - and 1,420 Democrat delegates, about 36%.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden. Picture: Alamy

Which states are holding votes?

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia are holding votes for both Republicans and Democrats.

Iowa and the territory of American Samoa are holding votes for Democrats.

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Could Joe Biden and Donald Trump be chosen as their parties' nominees?

Nobody is set to become the nominee after Super Tuesday, but both Mr Biden and Mr Trump are expected to get close.

Mr Biden is likely to win very easily, with his only challengers for the nomination, Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson, yet to pick up any delegates. He has 206 delegates himself.

Mr Trump's only serious challenger remaining is Nikki Haley, who has picked up 43 delegates to his 242 ahead of Super Tuesday. It is unclear if she will drop out if Super Tuesday goes poorly for her.

But even though we might think we know what will happen, neither Mr Trump nor Mr Biden will be able to claim the "presumptive nominee" title yet.

The earliest that could happen is March 12 for Mr Trump and March 19 for Mr Biden.

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When are the results set to come in?

Voting closes at 7pm EST (midnight UK time) in Vermont and Virginia, which are in the east of the country.

Polls in North Carolina close at 12.30am UK time, and in Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas at 1am UK time.

In Arkansas, voting finishes at 1.30am UK time, and in Colorado and Minnesota at 2am UK time.

Polls close at 3am UK time in Utah, and at 4am in California.

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