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Super Tuesday 2016 in Virginia: What’s at stake and where to vote

Posted at 5:55 AM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 05:55:48-05

RICHMOND, Va. —Super Tuesday and the March primaries have the potential to decide who becomes the nominee from each party. Super Tuesday will be the day when it becomes more clear whether candidates like former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich stand a chance in rising above top Republican candidates Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and front-runner real estate mogul Donald Trump.

It could be the day that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exceed expectations and takes more states than Hillary Clinton. Or it may not be.

But how much weight does Virginia carry?

There are 49 Republican delegates at stake along with 95 Democratic delegates, plus 15 superdelegates.

What to watch for the Republicans: The establishment types rule the north, and social conservatives dominate the south and the west. That makes Virginia a key Super Tuesday battleground for the GOP, with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump all competing hard for it.

What to watch for the Democrats: Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a long-time ally of the Clintons, and Robby Mook, her campaign manager, also ran his successful campaign here. That, plus the state's proximity to Washington's establishment Democrats, give Hillary Clinton an advantage.

African Americans made up 30% of the 2008 Democratic primary electorate in Virginia, something considered a huge factor when it came to Virginia's push to blue -- which remained steadfast in 2012, but voter turnout was lower.

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are forecasted to come out on top, according to a recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

More than half of voters who said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary, also said they supported Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s 52 percent support put her ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had 40 percent support, according to the poll.

The poll found Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had 28 percent of Virginia’s Republican vote.

However, both of these candidates had the highest unfavorable rating among all candidates. So they are the most disliked, but the most likely to win. 

Sanders didn't spend much time in southern states.

"It seems he's really diverted his attention more to the Midwest and the Northeast," said political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth.  "I think he's going to have a tough time tomorrow night in the southern states, including Virginia."

The other state holding primaries on Super Tuesday are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.  Keep track of nationwide results here. 

Super Tuesday candidates

HOW TO VOTE IN THE VIRGINIA PRIMARY

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Super Tuesday, March 1.

Registered voters can vote for any party, but only one party (not a Democratic and Republican candidate). They can deviate from their past voting record. However, that decision won't be without repercussions. If you switch parties, you can expect it will be noticed and the party will continue to contact you for years.

It’s too late to register to vote in the primary, or submit an absentee ballot by mail. But the deadline for absentee ballot by appearing in-person: 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions

Virginia’s New Voter Photo ID Rules

Under Virginia law, voters are required to bring a photo ID to the polls. If you DO NOT have a photo ID, you can still vote, but you need to take some extra steps for your vote to count.

If you need a ride, the VCU for Bernie Sanders group has a Caravan 2 the Polls page set up to connect voters with rides.

Do you know of any other caravans or grassroots push to get voters to the polls? Drop us an email.