In election years, Super Tuesday gets its name from the large number of primaries and caucuses held on a single day, which makes it the biggest day of the entire country's primary voting process. This year, Super Tuesday may have disappointed plenty of candidates and their supporters (looking at you, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie's face), but it didn't disappoint in delivering a super turnout. As with previous contests held during this election cycle, Super Tuesday's voter turnout soared, proving that, for one reason or another, voters are energized about this race in a way they haven't been before.
Voter turnout numbers didn't come in right away, as the focus for most of the evening was on counting votes, declaring winners, and doing delegate math. Still, in many participating states, long lines at polling stations and ballot shortages were all that was needed to prove the turnout was indeed super. For instance, despite printing roughly four times as many ballots as were used in 2012, some Dallas polling places were reportedly running out of Republican ballots with hours left until the polls closed in the Lone Star State. Georgia expected this sort of high turnout, which has been noted in previous primary states this year, like South Carolina and Nevada, based on the high number of early ballots that were cast in recent days.
By the very early hours of post-Super Tuesday Wednesday on the East Coast, several states had declared record turnout rates at their polls. Virginia, for example, reported that nearly twice as many people voted in this year's Republican primary than did in 2008, with this year's turnout around 800,000 people. In Georgia, more than 1.2 million people voted in the Republican primary, up from roughly 963,000 in 2008.
Interestingly, turnout might have surged across the board for Republicans in ways that it did not for Democrats. In Virginia, officials reported that 575,000 people voted in Tuesday's Democratic primary. In 2008, the last time there were no incumbents in the race, nearly 1 million voted in the Democratic primary. This sort of data parallels that of other primaries and caucuses so far. In Nevada, for example, the Democratic caucus went off without any major hitches, but the Republican caucus was fueled with complaints about underprepared facilities without enough ballots.
Call it the Trump effect, call it the #NeverTrump effect, call it whatever you'd like, but voter turnout on Super Tuesday shattered existing records, as more Republican primary voters participated in their state's contest. All in all, the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses awarded several hundred delegates to candidates on both sides of the race, based on millions of votes. If voter turnout remains high throughout the remaining primaries, it will be interesting to see how turnout fares during this fall's general election.