The voting will be done Nov. 8. What about the vote-counting? It depends.
In the past 28 years, the concession and victory speeches were made and election results were announced typically between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Eastern time. There is always the chance that the election results could take longer, as in 2000 when it took 36 days to finalize the election results.
Polls close as early as 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Alaska keeps its polls open the latest, closing at 1 a.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern time). Check the full list below to see what time the polls close in your state.
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Jeremy Art, a digital and social media specialist at C-SPAN, tweeted out a chart listing the time of concession and victory speeches in every election since 1992.
In 2012 and 2008, Americans on the East Coast could head to bed before midnight knowing Democrat Barack Obama had won the election.
But in 2004 and 2000, both won by Republican George W. Bush, the results weren’t known on Election Day.
The famous 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore wasn’t decided until Dec. 13th — 36 days after Election Day — after the Florida recount was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2004, Bush gave his victory speech the next afternoon after Ohio’s results were completed.
The Associated Press has been making calls since 1848 and they have specific criteria for announcing the winner of a state, including being “99.7 percent sure.” Many news organizations rely on the AP’s decisions.
In 2012, the AP made its first calls — Barack Obama winning Vermont and Mitt Romney winning Kentucky — at 7:05 p.m. Eastern time. The AP called the election in Obama’s favor at 11:38 p.m., with Colorado pushing him over the 270-electoral vote mark.
The results in Florida were not completed until four days after Election Day, but unlike in 2000, the national result did not hinge upon Florida’s electoral votes.
That could be the key to how much sleep Americans get on Tuesday night.
Does the election come down to a single close state — like Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004 — or does one candidate win a majority of electoral votes even as one or more states continue to count their votes?
If it is the latter, Clinton or Trump could deliver their victory speeches in time for most people to get a decent night’s rest.
When do the polls close?
Polls open as early as 6 a.m. (all times Eastern) in some states.
Polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia at 7 p.m.
Polls close in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia at 7:30 p.m.
Polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee at 8 p.m.
Polls close in Arkansas at 8:30 p.m.
Polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming at 9 p.m.
Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah at 10 p.m.
Polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington at 11 p.m.
Polls close in Alaska at 1 a.m.