Election Day 2016 has finally arrived. With voters on all sides becoming increasingly nervous, what time will state results start coming in? When can we expect to know where the race is headed?
7:00 p.m. Eastern Time is the beginning of some polling places beginning to close in key battleground states. It’s at that time that New Hampshire, Georgia, Virginia, and the majority of polling precincts in Florida will close, although the time is usually extended a bit to give anyone still in line at 7:00 p.m. a chance to vote. It often takes hours for a state to officially declare a winner, but news networks typically make projections as soon as they have enough information to see the direction of the race. Also closing at 7 are polls in Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vermont, but those are all states where we pretty much already know what the result will be in terms of the presidential race.
Then, at 7:30 p.m., North Carolina and Ohio will both close, in addition to West Virginia.
A projection in Florida won’t happen until well after 8:00 p.m because it’s at that time that polls on the west coast of the state start to close. Also closing at 8:00 is Pennsylvania, parts of Michigan, and Maine. Maine is worth paying attention to this year specifically because of the 2nd Congressional District, which could offer Donald Trump an extra Electoral College vote if it goes for him. Other states closing at 8 are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, parts of North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, parts of South Dakota, Tennessee, and the majority of Texas.
Another batch of states will begin to close at 9:00 p.m. The significant ones are Arizona, Colorado, and the rest of Michigan. Also closing at that time are New York, Minnesota, the rest of South Dakota, Nebraska, the rest of North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Finally, at 10:00 p.m. polls will close in the last two battleground states: Iowa and Nevada. Also closing at that time are Utah, Montana and much of Idaho. By 10, all of the significant swing states will have closed. The only ones left will be California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska and the rest of Idaho.
In terms of when we’ll actually begin to know who won states, it really depends on how close the races are. News networks often start to release very early numbers right after closings based on their exit polls, but these are usually pretty unreliable and probably shouldn’t be given that much attention.
If you’re just interested in tuning into the election coverage once things start actually happening and you want to ignore all the pre-game content, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time would be a good time to start paying attention, with 9:00 p.m. being when things will really start heating up. By then, polls will have closed in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, three of the most important states this year. If Florida and North Carolina are called for Hillary Clinton, she will likely become the next president. If Donald Trump wins them, that doesn’t mean he automatically wins the election, but it will indicate that the race will be much closer than expected.
In 2008 and 2012, the Associated Press officially declared the winner of the election shortly after 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
You can watch the election results live in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: