The 17-month-long agony of the 2016 presidential election is almost over, but as stressful as it's been for the last year and a half, it could be nothing compared to the stress of election night. The day can feel almost never-ending — you wake up early to get to the polls, take your ballot selfie (where allowed), fret through the work day, and feel like tearing your hair out before the polls even close. With the particularly high stakes this year and the light at the end of the tunnel growing tantalizingly brighter, the one question on everyone's mind is "when will the election be over?!?!" If all goes well, the results will be officially called on election night, but this election has taught the country to expect the unexpected.
Elections typically last late into the night on Election Day, so if you have work or school the next day, don't get your heart too set on seeing it through to the end. In 2012, Mitt Romney didn't officially concede the election to President Obama until around 1 a.m. Eastern Time, and that was a blowout election. This year's vote is expected to be much closer, and battleground states like Ohio and Florida might be too close to call for hours after the polls close. If everyone joins hands and makes a wish really hard, maybe one of the candidates will cross the 270 electoral vote mark very early, and everyone can either go to bed happy or cry themselves to sleep.
Of course, the idea that the election is over when the results are called is under unprecedented attack this year. Donald Trump still has not promised to concede gracefully, meaning the results could be in limbo, particularly if it comes down to a thin margin. Right now, 270ToWin has Hillary Clinton with a likely majority electoral votes and the possibility of earning more, but since states with some of the biggest electoral counts like Florida, Ohio, and Texas are up for grabs, that could change very quickly. Honestly, it's a bit of a fool's errand to try and predict what Trump will do or how his supporters will behave, so going into election night with no, and I mean absolutely zero, expectations is probably your best option.
Everyone deserves the day off on Nov. 9 because this election is bound to cause some serious anxiety and heartbreak, and that's assuming everything goes according to plan and it's actually over on Nov. 9. Hopefully, the country will have a new president elect by the morning after Election Day, but there are no guarantees about anything this year. Tune in to watch history as it's being made.