The Presidential Election is today, but that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily know who wins today. Here is what we know about when the polls close in every state and when the results of the election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden might actually be known.
Here Are When the Polls Close in Each State
Just because polls close at a certain time doesn’t mean that results will start being known right away. However, the time that polls close can at least give you a general idea of when to start watching for results. The Green Papers provided 2020 poll closing times for all 50 states. The times below are in the Eastern time zone. Note that if a state is listed more than once, it may be because different parts of the state are in different time zones. Some times may be subject to change, The Green Papers noted.
6 p.m. Eastern:
7 p.m. Eastern:
- South Carolina
7:30 p.m. Eastern:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
8 p.m. Eastern:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
8:30 p.m. Eastern:
9 p.m. Eastern:
- New York
- Arizona (7 p.m. Mountain)
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
10 p.m. Eastern:
- North Dakota
11 p.m. Eastern:
- North Dakota
12 a.m. Eastern:
Results May Be Delayed Because So Many People Voted By Mail
Results could likely be delayed this year compared to previous years. NPR reported that six states don’t even begin processing mail-in ballots until Election Day. These include Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. And while Michigan can start processing ballots the day before, they can’t tabulate them until Election Day. In fact, more than 30 states can’t begin counting mail-in ballots at all until Election Day, NPR reported.
Meanwhile, before Election Day, more than 97 million votes had already been cast, The New York Times reported. This accounted for more than 2/3 of the total number of people who voted in 2016. Of these numbers, 35.5 million were in person and 62.1 million votes were cast by mail. With so many more mail-in ballots than normal this year, it is possible that results in quite a few states could be delayed and come in later than expected.
This could happen in Texas, for example. Texas results likely won’t be extended for days like you may see in other states that have later mail-in voting deadlines — but they also may not arrive as early in the evening as residents are used to. Texas Tribune reported that a winner in Texas was declared in 2016 just after 8 p.m. Central. When Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke had a close Senate race, the results were declared by 9:30 p.m. Central. But things might be even later tonight in the Lone Star state. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir warned that results might not be in by the time the 10 p.m. local news airs like they normal are, Spectrum News reported. McLennan County warned KCENTV of the same. Depending on the number of people who show up to vote, they might not be able to have their projected results by the 10 p.m. Central news broadcast either.
If the race is too close, then voters may need to wait for results until absentee ballots are counted, which could be postmarked as late as 7 p.m. today and received by 5 p.m. tomorrow, Texas Tribune reported. Overseas military ballots have until November 9 to arrive. However, it’s certainly unusual for results to come in that late in Texas. But it’s not impossible.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, votes couldn’t be counted until Election Day even if they were mailed in earlier. And since the process for counting votes is slower, it’s possible that in-person votes will be tabulated first, leading to an early Trump lead that might be changed if mail-in ballots favor Biden.
The following states might have their voting results come in the latest, based on historical results or when mail-in votes are counted. Other states may also be late, this is not an all-inclusive list.
- Florida historically takes longer to report results, sometimes weeks depending on how close a race is.
- Georgia may have slower to report results if there is a large turnout.
- Michigan results are expected to be delayed, Detroit Free Press reported. Tuesday night is unlikely to happen. Results will likely be several days later.
- Pennsylvania might be later, since votes can be received within three days of the election if they are postmarked by Election Day.
- Wisconsin could be later, since absentee voting could not be processed until Election Day and there were a large number of absentee votes.
- California historically has later election results than many other states.
ABC 6 reported that overall presidential results might still be known sometime tonight, but only if the states that do release their results can give enough electoral votes to one candidate, despite battleground states still counting mail-in ballots.