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2020 Super Tuesday live updates: Biden sweeps the South, wins most delegates

More than 1,300 delegates — or about a third of the total — were at play on Super Tuesday.
Image: Voters in 14 states will cast ballots in Democratic primaries on \"Super Tuesday,\" March 3, 2020.
Voters in 14 states cast ballots in Democratic primaries on "Super Tuesday," March 3, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Fourteen states and one territory held nominating contests for the Democratic Party's candidate for president on Tuesday, the most pivotal day on the presidential primary calendar.

When the polls closed on Super Tuesday and results came in, it became clear that former Vice President Joe Biden had swept the Southern states, winning the primaries in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, as well as Minnesota and Massachusetts, and had ended the night with the most delegates. Sen. Bernie Sanders came out on top in Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont, NBC News projected.

On Wednesday, NBC News declared Biden the apparent winner in Maine, though the race against Sanders in the state was a tight one.

More than 1,300 delegates — about a third of the total — were at play, more than on any other day in the primary season.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts on the latest news.

Live Blog

NBC News Exit Poll: In three states, half of Democratic voters say self-funded campaigns are unfair

Large shares of Democratic primary voters generally take a negative view of self-funded campaigns by billionaires like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll.

In the three states where Super Tuesday voters were asked about the issue, about half said it is unfair that candidates can spend unlimited amounts of their own money on their campaigns. This sentiment ranged from 49 percent of Democratic primary voters in Texas and Tennessee to 53 percent in North Carolina.

Among the remaining candidates, this issue is front and center for Bloomberg, who has invested $500 million of his own money into his campaign. About three in 10 voters who supported Bloomberg in these states said that candidates spending unlimited amounts of their own money on their campaigns is unfair.

Los Angeles voters see long lines at some polling centers

LOS ANGELES — Voters lined up around the block at several locations around the Beverly Grove and West Hollywood neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

The city has nearly 1,000 voting centers open around the county, and around a quarter of them were open for early voting in the days leading up to Super Tuesday. But for voters who showed up on primary day, many found lines longer than usual.

At one polling center on West Knoll Drive, where about 100 people waited in a line stretching down the block, voters told NBC News that they had waited for nearly 75 minutes to vote. Those casting ballots nearby at Rosewood Avenue Elementary School and Laurel Span School said they had waited 25 to 30 minutes, but several said there usually isn't any wait. 

Polling workers walked around outside of one location at a recreation center on North Vista Avenue in West Hollywood instructing people waiting in line that they could start filling out their election choices on LAvote.net, then use a QR code once they're inside to print a ballot with their picks already selected. That process is part of a new voting machine setup in Los Angeles County.

Bloomberg goes to Oz for voter outreach

NBC News Exit Poll: 1 in 7 Super Tuesday voters won’t pledge to support the Democratic nominee

Fourteen percent of those voting in Democratic primaries across the country Tuesday aren’t committing to voting for the party’s nominee in November, according to the NBC News Exit Poll conducted in 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states. That’s about 1 in 7 voters. 

As they left the polls, voters were asked if they planned to vote for the Democratic nominee this fall “regardless of who it is.” Supporters of Mike Bloomberg were least likely to pledge to vote Democratic in November: 18 percent of his voters wouldn't commit to the party’s ticket.

The most loyal Democratic voters? Supporters of Elizabeth Warren. Ninety-one percent of her voters said they’d support the party’s nominee regardless of who it is.

Power outage hits LAX airport, nearby polling places

Several terminals at Los Angeles International Airport and nearby polling stations lost electrical power on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Power started being restored about 20 minutes later. 

Click here for the full story. 

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These LA residents were into voting before it was cool

NBC News Exit Poll: Four in 10 Super Tuesday Democrats are voters of color

Roughly 4 in 10 voters in today’s Democratic presidential primaries are people of color, according to the NBC News Exit Poll conducted in 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states. Latinos make up nearly 1 in 5 Democrats (18 percent) voting today; African Americans account for another 14 percent of voters. Asian voters and those identifying as “other” each make up 3 percent.

These numbers mean that the Super Tuesday primary electorate is much more diverse than the two earliest Democratic contests held last month in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But as in each of the four previous Democratic caucuses and primaries, today’s voters are on the older side. More than half — 64 percent — of today’s Democratic voters are 45 or over, including the 29 percent of voters who are age 65 or over. Just 13 percent of those voting this Super Tuesday are younger than 30.

Results reported here reflect data combined from NBC News Exit Poll surveys conducted in 12 of the 14 states holding Democratic presidential primaries on Super Tuesday (Alabama, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia). Results are weighted to reflect differences in the sizes of state electorates.

 

Super Tuesday voting machine risks

While all fingers are crossed for a smooth electoral process, some Super Tuesday states are using machines with a higher likelihood of issues.

These can include new machines getting the kinks worked out for the first time in a primary, old machines known for glitches, and machines with no paper trail if something goes wrong. Without a paper trail, the only way to check is by running a test on the messed-up machine.

Thirty-nine counties in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas will use the ES&S iVotronic, a “first-generation” touchscreen device prone to having an issue where the voter touches one candidate but the screen registers a different candidate. In the past confused voters have uploaded videos of it happening, leading to viral claims of “vote flipping.”

Nearly half the counties In Tennessee will use the MicroVote Infinity, an ancient push-button machine with security issues and no paper trail.

Six counties across the country in California, Tennessee, Texas, Utah will use the Dominion AccuVote TSX, which has been thoroughly hacked by researchers and its source code posted online. Hackers have made it run video games like Pacman and DOOM. Some counties using it have a paper trail, some don’t. Counties that have it tend to use it as an accessibility device, not as the primary means of voting.

Other places and issues:

CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles County is rolling out its Voting Solutions for All People VSAP which has already had a handful of issues in early voting. There were reports of centers closed for ballots getting jammed, workers not knowing security codes, and an insufficient number of poll workers. Two counties are using the AccuVote TSX, with a paper trail.

NORTH CAROLINA

More than half of North Carolinians are voting on new equipment. A few months ago a local Pennsylvania race was thrown into disarray when new equipment improperly configured by maker ES&S showed a judge as getting zero votes. They fixed the issue in the audit but it was a mess.

TEXAS

Nearly 40 percent of Texans are voting on touchscreens with no paper trail.

TENNESSE

Seventy percent of voters are using electronic voting machines with no paper trail.

UTAH

One county is using the AccvuoteTSX. They will have a paper trail.

Frustration for early voters whose candidates have dropped out of the race

The abrupt departures of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar from the Democratic presidential race on the eve of Super Tuesday primaries could be frustrating for the millions of people who have already voted in those 14 states and might have cast ballots for them.

Early voting began in January in many of the Super Tuesday states, and in large part, once a vote is cast, it is final, according to state election officials. 

In California, with more than 400 delegates are at stake, nearly 1.6 million Democrats had returned mail-in ballots as of Monday afternoon, according to a ballot tracker maintained by Political Data Inc. If an early ballot there was marked for a candidate no longer in the race, a voter can take in their ballot for a new one, and make a second choice. But once the ballot is submitted, that’s it.

In Colorado, Secretary of State Jena Griswold tweeted on Sunday that only those who had marked a ballot but not yet returned it could make a second selection, or get a new ballot.

At a Colorado event for Klobuchar on Monday, Amy Valore-Caplan, a 46-year-old writer in Denver, showed up to find out that the Minnesota senator, for whom she had waited until the last minute to cast her mail-in ballot, had dropped out.

Valore-Caplan said she knew Klobuchar’s candidacy was on the bubble, and actually hesitated Sunday, when she saw Buttigieg end his campaign. “I thought it was safe,” she said, of her decision to wait another day. “I was waiting to make sure she didn’t drop out.”