As Americans vote Tuesday, the question is not only whether Republican Donald Trump will win a second four-year term or lose to his Democratic rival Joe Biden, but also when the outcome of the vote will be known.
The latest opinion polls show that this race is tight enough in key states to influence the outcome in any direction, even if Biden is ahead of Trump in national polls.
Some of these key states do not start counting early votes until polling stations close, and some allow ballots arriving after election day to be included as long as they are stamped by November 3rd. If the presidential race depends on the results of this United States, America could wait days.
Experts warned not to read too much in the preliminary results, which could be distorted by the way each state processes votes that were not cast in person on election day.
Here are some important moments for Tuesday and beyond:
Pray 17:00 AND (22.00 GMT) – Edison Research will publish preliminary poll results at polling stations, based on in-person interviews with voters, in-person interviews at polling stations before November 3, and telephone interviews with voters by mail.
Initial data will analyze voter sentiment and motivation at the national and state levels, but not detailed percentage estimates. The results of exit polls in individual states will be published after the vote in that state.
Edison will refine and update the results of national and state polls throughout the night, gathering more voter responses and adjusting weights to reflect turnout.
Pray 6 pm ET (23.00 GMT) – Some polling stations are beginning to close in the Republican strongholds of Indiana and Kentucky, the first in the country to close the voting process.
Pray 7 pm ET (00.00 GMT) – Voting ends in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia and Vermont.
Some polling stations are beginning to close in Florida, but many remain open until 8 p.m.
Florida’s initial results could favor Biden because of the high volume of early votes that the state began scanning more than three weeks ago; opinion polls suggest more Democrats voted early, while more Republicans waited until election day. If there is a “blue mirage”, it will disappear as more votes are cast in person on Tuesday.
Pray and 19.30 (00.30 GMT) – Elections are closing in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia.
Like Florida, initial results in North Carolina and Ohio could favor Biden, as states began scanning early votes a few weeks before election day. A more realistic picture of the vote will appear as more ballots are counted.
North Carolina counts the ballots that arrive by November 12, if they are stamped by November 3.
Pray 8 pm ET (01.00 GMT) – Votul se încheie în Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee şi Washington D.C.
Pennsylvania will not begin processing early ballots until election day, and the state will accept ballots by mail until three days after the election, if they are stamped by Nov. 3. As a result, there could be a “red mirage” in favor of Trump until the ballot papers are still absent, experts say.
Pray 8.30 pm ET (01.30 GMT) – Reuters expects to release updated poll results at the national polls from Edison Research, with estimates of support for Biden and Trump.
Polling stations close in Arkansas.
Pray 21:00 AND (02.00 GMT) – Voting ends in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Like Pennsylvania, the first results in Michigan and Wisconsin are expected to favor Trump, as ballots cannot be counted before election day. (Michigan allows ballots to be opened, but they cannot be counted)
Arizona allows scanning of ballots 14 days before the election.
Pray 10 pm ET (03.00 GMT) – Voting centers close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.
Iowa allows voting to open on the Saturday before the election and registration begins Monday.
Votes sent by mail, dated November 2, can arrive late Monday after the election.
Nevada allows ballot scanning to begin 14 days before the election and accepts ballots up to seven days after the election, if stamped by November 3.
Pray 11 am ET (04.00 GMT) – Voting ends in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Pray 12 pm ET (05.00 GMT) – Elections end in Hawaii.
Pray 1 pm ET (06.00 GMT) – Voting ends in Alaska.
States have until this date, known as the “safe harbor” term, in accordance with federal law, to resolve any disputes related to the total number of votes and to certify the winner. If a state fails to complete the vote count by then, Congress is no longer required to accept its results under the Electoral College system.
The members of the Electoral College vote for the president. The candidate who receives the majority of the 538 available electoral votes, or 270, wins the presidency.
In all but two states, the winner of the popular vote of the state wins all the votes of the voters, which are distributed according to population. In Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the statewide popular vote is given two voter votes, and the remaining votes are allocated to the winner of the popular vote in each of the state’s congressional districts.
January 6, 2021
The congress meets at 13:00. ET (18.00 GMT), in Washington, to count the votes of the voters and declare the winner of the presidential election.
January 20, 2021
Inauguration Day. The winner and his election partner are invested as president and vice president of the Washington Capitol.