LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Southland voters going to the polls Tuesday will play a significant role in determining a tight Democratic presidential race that saw the number of candidates shrink significantly over the past few days following former Vice President Joe Biden’s big win in South Carolina.
California is one of 14 states taking part in Super Tuesday primaries that could further narrow the field and shed light on who will challenge President Donald Trump in November.
A total of 415 delegates are up for grabs in California, more than any other state in the nation.
Delegates are divided proportionally. Candidates must obtain at least 15 percent of the total California vote in order to nab statewide delegates. They must also reach 15 percent in any of the state’s 53 congressional districts in order to obtain delegates from those districts.
In Los Angeles County, about 578,000 ballots had already been cast as of early Tuesday morning, according to Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. He said more than 100,000 ballots were cast on Monday alone.
More than 3 million Californians had already voted as of Sunday.
578,000 people have already mailed in primary ballots in LA County. Election workers are getting the ballots ready now, so they can be counted right when the polls close tonight. @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/ABfLRYk0Qj
— Tina Patel (@tina_patel) March 3, 2020
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren held spirited rallies in the Los Angeles area over the past two days, while Biden is scheduled to hold a rally in Baldwin Hills late Tuesday afternoon.
Following the South Carolina vote, three Democrats suspended their presidential bids – California billionaire Tom Steyer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Klobuchar and Buttigieg both immediately endorsed Biden.
Logan and the California Secretary of State’s Office stressed on their social media accounts Monday that there is no “do-over” for people who cast early ballots for candidates who have since dropped out of the race.
Biden has some high-profile support in the Southland. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is a co-chair of Biden’s national campaign and is expected to appear with the former vice president at Tuesday’s rally in Baldwin Hills.
Recent polling, however, has shown Sanders with a strong lead across California, with Warren and Biden in a virtual tie for a distant second-place finish, and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg close behind. That polling preceded the departures of Buttigieg and Klobuchar, but it’s unclear if their exit from the race and endorsement of Biden will boost his fortunes.
CBS News political contributor Maria Elena Salinas told CBS2 that the Latino vote will be key in determining Sanders’ success or failure.
“By far, the No. 1 issue for Latinos is the cost of healthcare, and that probably explains why so many of them are supporting Bernie Sanders,” Salinas said.
This is the first election in L.A. County in which residents can cast a ballot at any of the 976 vote centers across the county, they are not limited to only their neighborhood precinct. It is also the first election L.A. County voters will be using a modern touch-pad ballot marking device to make their selections. Those selections will then be printed out on a paper ballot.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)