You can rest easy: Soon, this will all be over. America votes for the next president on Tuesday. But it ain't over until it's over, and given how much anxiety this election has created, many people (myself included) just want it to be done with as soon as possible. So, when will the election results be in?
The polls usually close between 7 and 9 p.m. local time, depending on the state; here's a list of state-by-state polling hours. But not all states are equally important to the electoral math, which makes it a bit more complicated to predict when we'll actually know who won the election. It depends largely on which states deliver victory to the winner — and by how much.
It's possible that the election will be called very early in the night. If Hillary Clinton were to win all of the swing states east of Iowa, and the votes in those states were counted relatively quickly, and the networks take it as a given that Clinton will win California and Hawaii (which she very likely will), then Clinton could clear 270 electoral votes by 9 p.m. EST, when the polls close in Wisconsin. It would look something like this:
In fact, Clinton could even lose New Hampshire in this scenario, and the outcome would be the same: 270 electoral votes in her column by 9 p.m. EST.
That said, this scenario essentially depends on Clinton winning in a landslide, both in terms of the electoral college and on a state-by-state basis: The only way so many swing states would call their results so early would be if Clinton's margin over Trump in each state was enormous. If the vote tally is even a little bit close, we'll be in for a longer night.
Bustle looked at when past presidential elections were called, and found that five of the last 10 have been called between 11 p.m. EST and midnight. Statistically, then, one might say that there's a 50 percent chance that the race will be called inside of that window.
Ultimately, it's impossible to say when the election will be called, because that depends almost entirely on how close the vote is in each individual state. We won't know anything for certain until the results start trickling in — but if we're headed towards a Clinton landslide (which I, personally, suspect that we are), the usual election night tension may be a mercifully brief experience.