Voters in almost half the 50 U.S. states are making their voices heard Tuesday in the biggest primary election day in the nation's history. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports roughly half the delegates to the Republican and Democratic party nominating conventions are at stake.

From New York in the east to Illinois in the heartland and California on the Pacific Coast, Americans lined up to state their preference for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.

The first Democratic primary win went to Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who won in the southern state of Georgia and later picked up an early victory in his home state. His rival, New York Senator Hillary Clinton won in Oklahoma.

Obama went into "Super Tuesday" hoping to gain momentum in a race against Clinton that has tightened considerably in recent weeks.

Clinton was the front-runner going into the state-by-state process of choosing convention delegates. She cast her primary ballot at her neighborhood polling place in the New York City suburbs.

"It's a very humbling and overwhelming experience," she said.

On the Republican side, Arizona Senator John McCain won primaries in Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won that state and was hoping a strong turnout by conservative voters would help him overtake McCain elsewhere.

Romney spoke after voting in Massachusetts.

"The opportunity to vote for yourself for president is really something I never expected to be able to do," he said. "It was a great honor."

While most of the 24 Super Tuesday states held primaries and caucuses, Republicans in West Virginia chose their delegates at a state convention. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the winner there - his first victory since the Iowa caucuses that led off the nationwide selection process in early January.

At one time, it was thought Super Tuesday might decide both the Republican and Democratic nominees. Now, there are signs it may take weeks more, and states that once thought their primaries would be an afterthought are preparing to exert a lot of power in the nominating process.