Super Tuesday 2016: Everything You Need to Know

Here's why they call it Super Tuesday.

ByJennifer Hansler and Paola Chavez
March 01, 2016, 11:16 AM

— -- It’s called Super Tuesday for a reason.

Today is the single biggest day of voting in the presidential race until November’s general election. Voters in 12 states and one territory will have a critical say in the course of the rest of the election.

Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know:

History of 'Super Tuesday'

The phrase “Super Tuesday” was first used in the 1980s when Alabama, Georgia and Florida all held their primaries on the same day.

That number grew to nine four years later. That presidential election year, former Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale survived the loss of seven states to his main opponent, but nabbed the eventual nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

In 1988, the foundation for today’s Super Tuesday was created, Southern Super Tuesday, and included mostly Southern states. Until 2004, these Southern primaries were held the week following Super Tuesday.

Today, the day when the greatest number of states hold primary elections has been dubbed the “SEC Primary” because many of the states that vote are represented in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), a U.S. college athletic conference.

Which states will be voting?

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will hold primaries for both parties. Alaska will host only a Republican primary; American Samoa, only a Democratic one.

In Colorado, there will be caucuses for both parties. But only the Democrats in that state will be choosing their candidates. Colorado Republicans have opted to vote for the delegates who will represent them at the Republican National Convention in July.

What is a delegate and how many delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday?

Delegates are selected from each state to cast their votes for a presidential nominee at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in July. The number of delegates and how they are selected varies from state to state.

There are two kinds of delegates: pledged, who must vote based on primary and caucus results; and unpledged, or super, who are permanent delegates and can vote for whom they please at the conventions.

A Republican candidate must receive 1,237 delegates out of the total 2,472 available to be eligible for the nomination. For the Democrats, that number is 2,383 out of the total 4,765 delegates.

There are 595 delegates at stake for the Republicans today, about 20 percent of the total GOP delegates. An 1,015 delegates are up for grabs for the Democrats.

How many delegates do the candidates have so far?

There have been election events for both parties in four states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

On the GOP side, these are the current delegate counts:Donald Trump: 82Ted Cruz: 17Marco Rubio: 16John Kasich: 6Ben Carson: 4

For the Democrats, without counting super-delegates, Hillary Clinton has 91 and Bernie Sanders has 65 delegates.

Super Tuesday Visits

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