What is Super Tuesday? What to know about the pivotal 2024 presidential primary day

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WASHINGTON – Traditionally, Super Tuesday is the day that is seen to most accurately forecast how the presidential primaries will play out. Every four years, the contest is when millions of Americans in a wide swath of states head to their polling places, usually in March.

Super Tuesday earned its nickname because its the date the most states hold their primaries and caucuses − meaning it’s also when the most delegates are at stake to earn the party nominations.

This primary season however, has been far from traditional and former President Donald Trump is likely to be the Republican presidential nominee against incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden according to polling.

Regardless, here’s what to know about Super Tuesday, which will be held on March 5.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday has long been viewed as the day that could significantly alter the course of the presidential primaries since the most delegates are at stake. The primaries usually lands on March, but occasionally is also held on February. Trump is the front-runner in the race, polling well above his remaining rival, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley according to multiple polls.

But Haley has vowed to stay in the contest and Super Tuesday could be her last shot at representing a competitive campaign against Trump, who has loomed large over the Republican party as its de-facto leader.

Biden on the other hand, as the presidential incumbent, is expected to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

What states are voting?

The states holding primary elections on March 5 include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

One territory, American Samoa, will also hold a primary election.

Iowa's Democratic Party will also release the results of its mail-in voting on March 5.

What races are at stake in addition to the presidential primary?

It’s not just the presidential primaries that could matter. Other competitive primaries are slated to happen in the states that will be voting on March 5.

California, for instance, is seeing a fierce intra-party primary battle between three major Democrats for a solidly blue open Senate seat in the liberal state. California voters will also consider a ballot measure known as Proposition 1, which would address the state's mental health system and homelessness crisis.

In Alabama, a court order that mandated a new congressional map has put two House Republican lawmakers – Reps. Barry Moore and Jerry Carl – in a bitter member-on-member primary.

North Carolinians will also vote in a gubernatorial primary on Super Tuesday, setting up what's expected to be a high-pressure race in the fall. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has emerged as the Democratic frontrunner, while North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is expected to lead Republicans.

When will polls close?

Here's a look at when polls will close states across the country holding elections on Super Tuesday. Some areas may close polls earlier or later than these times, so you should check with your local election officials before casting your ballot.

  • Alabama: 7 p.m. CST

  • Alaska: 8 p.m. AKST

  • Arkansas: 7:30 p.m. CST

  • California 8 p.m. PST

  • Colorado: 7 p.m. MST

  • Iowa (No live voting. Republicans held their caucuses Jan. 15. Democrats are voting by mail.)

  • Maine 8 p.m. EST

  • Massachusetts 8 p.m. EST

  • Minnesota 8 p.m. CST

  • North Carolina 7:30 p.m. EST

  • Oklahoma 7 p.m. CST

  • Tennessee: Varies by county, but many polls close at 8 p.m. ET

  • Texas 7 p.m. CST

  • Utah: 8 p.m. MST

  • Vermont 7 p.m. EST

  • Virginia 7 p.m. EST

CONWAY, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures to members of the audience as he leaves a Get Out The Vote rally at Coastal Carolina University on February 10, 2024 in Conway, South Carolina. South Carolina holds its Republican primary on February 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 776101565 ORIG FILE ID: 2000944133

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is Super Tuesday? What to know about the crucial 2024 primary day