When Will The Election Results Be In? A Long Night Will End A Long Race

The 2016 presidential race began way back on March 23, 2015. That was when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz kicked off the presidential race by announcing his candidacy. For one year and eight months, the American public has seen a hell of a lot — the demise of no fewer than 16 Republican nomination bids, the rise of reality star/real estate mogul Donald Trump to nominee status, the surprising performance of underdog Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and the first female major-party nominee. On Election Day, we are turning the page from one very long chapter to open a new one, the composition of which has had us on the edge of our seats. When will election results be in?

Official results will likely take at least until Wednesday to come in, barring any contested results, but we should have a good enough idea of who the next president will be for one to be announced the projected winner late Tuesday night. We can expect results to start pouring in when the polls first close, and the timing for that varies by state.

Indiana and Kentucky will kick us off somewhat slowly shortly after 6 p.m. EST, at which time some of the states' polls close. Things will begin heating up between 7 and 7:30 p.m. EST, when 10 other states' results will trickle in. By 9 p.m. EST, 39 states total will have closed their polls. Most of the remaining states will be turning out results by 11 p.m. EST. Alaska will keep us up latest, should we be following live, as some polls in the state don't close until 1 a.m. EST. Note that Washington allows mail-in votes to be counted so long as they are postmarked no later than Election Day; that means it'll take some time beyond Tuesday for those votes to get tallied up.

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Though all the states' results will take many hours to come in, we very well may have an idea of who won much earlier, probably, because most states distribute their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, and therefore, the election generally comes down to the results in a handful of swing states. As the Wall Street Journal reported, polls in six key swing states — Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida, and Ohio — all close by 8 p.m. EST. Sure, it's possible for supposedly safe "red" or "blue" states to go the other way, but as most state results pour in after 9 p.m. EST in conjunction with the swing state results, we should have an idea of who our next president will be by late Tuesday night.

Of course, presidential election results aren't all we're in store for Tuesday. The big question of which party will control the Senate will be answered; the composition of the 2017 House of Representatives will be decided; governors will be chosen along with local government officials across the country; in some places, important ballot initiatives will be decided. It's going to be a busy, busy night.

Tuesday night, we will see the unofficial end of a long and at times absurd, emotional, and draining race. Whether the results are perceived as a train wreck or a heroic victory, it'll be hard to look away.