Colorado is about to get its say in the presidential election--but with very different ramifications for Democrats and Republicans.
For Republicans, there will not be any delegates awarded next Tuesday.
For Democrats, the Colorado caucus could make or break Bernie Sanders' campaign.
What is Super Tuesday?
Before March 1, just one state at a time voted on a nominee (Note: the South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucus were held on the same night, but each state only focused on one party.). On March 1, 12 states and one territory will hold a primary or caucus--setting the day up to be a potential game changer in both parties' races. Five hundred and ninety-five Republican delegates are up for grabs; for Democrats, a whopping 1,004 delegates are at stake.
What does Super Tuesday mean for the race?
For Republicans trailing Donald Trump, it's their last best chance to halt--or at least slow--his momentum. For Trump, he won't sew up the nomination Tuesday but he could take an almost insurmountable lead if he wins a large enough percentage of delegates.
For Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio especially, strong-to-fair performances on Super Tuesday keep a path to the nomination possible. Underperformances could be devastating to their campaigns.
For Democrats, this could be a turning point for Hillary Clinton's campaign--or a sign that the race won't be over anytime soon.
How does Colorado fit into all of this?
Colorado has been touted the most fascinating Super Tuesday state for Democrats by several political watchers.
"Caucuses are different than primaries," explained Dr. Joshua Dunn, an associate professor of political science at UCCS. "You tend to get the most committed members of the party, and those people tend to be the most liberal or the most conservative. And sometimes that can skew the results coming out of caucuses. For Bernie Sanders, that's good news. He tends to have extremely committed people...and they tend to be more willing to take the time to spend two hours at a caucus meeting. So he has to do well here in Colorado, because it's in caucus states that he has the best chance of actually getting some victories.
"The fact that he didn't take Nevada blunted some of his momentum. So, Colorado and other caucus states--he has to win some of those. If he doesn't, then it means that Hillary Clinton has the nomination.
"If he can't win in Colorado, it means he's not going to have much of a chance in other states."
On the Republican side, Colorado won't immediately matter, but it could down the road.
"What's happening on the Republican side is there will be no official preference poll. ... The Republican party made a requirement that if you had a preference poll, that would be binding, and that meant that any delegates coming out of the state would have to be allocated based on that preference poll. The state party didn't want to do that," Dunn explained.
Instead, on Super Tuesday state Republicans will gather at almost 3,000 locations across the state to elect the delegates who will eventually represent Colorado at the convention. Dunn expects each precinct will still hold a nominee preference poll, but will not make the results public so as not to be binding.
This change means that Colorado has all the way to the convention to decide who to give its delegates to. If it's close come convention time, the state could play spoiler.
Volunteers for the candidates will be trying to woo potential delegates in the coming weeks to get commitments.
The Democrat caucus Tuesday will be more binding, Dunn said. There will be a winner named on Tuesday.
How does a caucus work?
A caucus is essentially a neighborhood meeting of party members, Dunn said. On the night of the caucus, you'll go to the meeting place you're assigned to based on your address. At the caucus itself, party members will debate and discuss who the nominee should be, then take the preference poll. For Colorado Republicans, the results of each precinct's poll will stay secret so that their delegates are not bound to any one candidate before the convention.
Caucuses start at 7 p.m.
I'm in El Paso County. Where do I go for my caucus?
Our partners at The Gazette have a great map to show you where to go. Click here, select your party and type in your address!
My county is Pueblo, Teller, Fremont, etc
The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties have a useful caucus locator for every county in the state. Click here to find your caucus location if you're a Democrat, and click here to find your caucus location if you're a Republican.
Who can vote in Colorado's caucuses?
According to the Colorado secretary of state, in order to vote in the upcoming caucus, the voter must be:
-A resident of the precinct for at least 30 days.
-Registered to vote no later than 29 days before the caucus.
-Affiliated with the party holding the caucus for at least two months before the caucus.
Where the candidates stand ahead of Super Tuesday