Quick-counting swing states within the Southeast will start to report their outcomes early. Battlegrounds within the higher Midwest and industrial Nice Lakes, in addition to states out West, will come on-line later. And counting votes might take some states a number of extra days.

In the meantime, Republicans are looking for to preserve management of the Senate — Democrats want a web achieve of three seats if Biden is elected president and 4 seats if Trump wins.

And the way voting is counted and reported in every state might create shifts for both candidate: The primary batches of ends in key states won’t point out these states’ end result as extra votes are counted.

This is a have a look at how election night might unfold:

5 p.m. ET: Early exit polls

Voting will nonetheless be open in all 50 states, however the first spherical of exit ballot outcomes will come at 5 p.m. ET. These exit polls will not predict who will win key states however will supply perception into who’s voting and what’s driving their vote. These insights might assist clarify the election’s end result.

6 to 7:30 p.m. ET: Southeastern battlegrounds begin counting

The primary polls shut at 6 p.m. in most of Indiana and Kentucky, two Republican strongholds. However the actual suspense begins when polls shut an hour later. Virginia — lengthy a swing state that has moved towards Democrats in recent times — might be the primary important name of the night, with its 13 electoral votes anticipated to go for Biden. Georgia would be the first true battleground of the night, with 16 electoral votes.

READ: When polls will shut in key states and when ballots will likely be counted

Most of Florida’s polls shut at 7 p.m. ET, however as a result of its Panhandle area is within the Central time zone, some counties will stay open an hour later. The state has been processing ballots for weeks, so the primary outcomes reported are seemingly to be early votes that have a tendency to favor Democrats. Biden’s margins in South Florida — Broward and Miami-Dade counties, particularly — will likely be essential to watch, with Democrats involved his marketing campaign has carried out too little to end up Black and Latino voters. Nonetheless, polls have proven Biden besting Trump with older voters, which implies he would possibly find a way to face up to a less-than-stellar exhibiting in these counties within the battle for the state’s 29 electoral votes.

At 7:30 p.m., polls shut in two extra key states: North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, and Ohio, with 18.

Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio are essential to the President’s slender path to victory. The Southeastern states are anticipated to depend votes comparatively shortly, providing an early window into Trump’s possibilities of profitable reelection.

Nonetheless, Democrats shouldn’t be too fast to get their hopes up: North Carolina and Ohio will each depend early and absentee votes first, that are seemingly to be extra favorable to Biden than the states’ general outcomes, together with ballots forged on Election Day.

One other state to watch the place polls shut at 7 p.m. is South Carolina. It is not a presidential battleground, however Democrat Jaime Harrison shattered all earlier Senate fundraising information in what started as a long-shot bid to unseat Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. A Harrison win can be an enormous and sudden increase to his occasion’s hopes of profitable management of the Senate.

eight p.m. ET: Pennsylvania and Texas shut

Maybe a very powerful battleground of all — Pennsylvania — closes its polls at eight p.m. ET. It is the most important electoral vote prize of the “blue wall” states with 20 up for grabs, and polls have proven it might be essentially the most aggressive. Biden and Trump each barnstormed the state within the race’s ultimate days, underscoring its significance.

Plans for counting absentee ballots differ extensively, and a few counties will not launch any of these outcomes on election night, making a state of affairs the place the early outcomes might be extra favorable to Trump than the commonwealth’s eventual end result. Biden’s hopes experience partly on a robust efficiency within the Philadelphia suburbs. Trump has sought to plant doubt in voters’ minds in regards to the sincerity of the previous vice chairman’s assist for fracking in Western Pennsylvania, the place Trump hopes to rack up big margins amongst White working-class voters.
Texas, an enormous electoral vote prize with 38 obtainable, additionally begins counting votes at eight p.m. ET, although the far-western portion of the state, together with El Paso, is within the Mountain time zone and can begin an hour later. A political-landscape shifting win in Texas would successfully cement a Biden victory. Extra votes had been forged early within the state than had been forged within the entirety of the 2016 election, so Democratic and Republican operatives will likely be choosing by the ends in Texas for a very long time, figuring out whether or not the beforehand dependable Republican state now wants to be thought of a presidential battleground.

Polls additionally shut at eight p.m. in Maine. The state is residence to one of many nation’s most intently watched Senate races, between Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, though with ranked selection voting, ends in that race might take some time. The state additionally awards its electoral votes primarily based on the end result of particular person congressional districts — which implies that, whereas Biden is favored to carry three electoral votes there, the 2nd District might be a lot nearer. In a neck-and-neck presidential race, that single electoral vote might matter.

New Hampshire, a aggressive state with 4 electoral votes anticipated to favor Biden, additionally begins counting votes at eight p.m. So does Alabama, the place Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is the highest GOP pick-up goal within the nation, going through Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville, the previous Auburn College soccer coach.

9 to 10 p.m. ET: Arizona and the ‘blue wall’ start counting

Polls shut in Arizona (11 electoral votes), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10) and Wisconsin (10) — 4 of the nation’s most essential battlegrounds — at 9 p.m. ET.

Parts of Michigan and Wisconsin — a part of the “blue wall” Biden is attempting to rebuild — are anticipated to be slower to report by-mail votes, which raises the chance that the preliminary outcomes might be extra favorable for Trump than their final outcomes.

Minnesota is the one one of many 4 states Trump misplaced in 2016. His marketing campaign had hoped to foment a White suburban backlash to the racial injustice protests that adopted Minneapolis police killing George Floyd over the summer time — however polls present such a backlash by no means materialized. Nonetheless, Trump and his marketing campaign have made a push to flip the state pink this yr.

In Arizona, the more and more numerous and suburban voters has quickly turned what was as soon as a GOP stronghold right into a swing state with 11 electoral votes up for grabs. Republican Sen. Martha McSally is a first-rate Democratic goal, going through challenger Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords. The state ought to course of a lot of its outcomes shortly, however a 2018 Senate contest between Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and McSally took weeks to finalize.

Nebraska’s polls shut at 9 p.m., and the state apportions its electoral votes by congressional district — like Maine. Whereas Trump is anticipated to win 4 of its electoral votes, the Omaha-based 2nd District is aggressive and can also be one of many suburban areas Home Democrats are hoping to flip.

Two further essential states within the Senate battle begin counting votes at 9 p.m.: Colorado, a vote-by-mail state the place Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is attempting to fend off Democratic former Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Kansas, the place Democrat Barbara Bollier is in a surprisingly aggressive marketing campaign in opposition to Republican Rep. Roger Marshall.

At 10 p.m. ET, polls shut in two aggressive states with six electoral votes every: Iowa and Nevada. If Biden wins Iowa, or if Trump wins Nevada, it might be a robust indicator that the race goes of their route.

Iowa’s Senate race between Republican incumbent Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield is vital, as is the Senate race in Montana, the place polls additionally shut at 10 p.m. There, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is difficult Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

Late night: Pacific Coast wraps issues up

At 11 p.m., polls shut in California, which implies 55 electoral votes there’ll nearly actually be added to Biden’s column. The remainder of the Pacific coast, Democratic strongholds Oregon (7 electoral votes) and Washington (12), additionally shut then and are anticipated to favor Biden. Idaho has 4 electoral votes Trump is probably going to win.

The ultimate contests to conclude are Hawaii, the place polls shut at midnight ET, and Alaska, at 1 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

The candidates’ speeches

One factor we will not predict: When one candidate crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold.

Each Trump and Biden are ready to deal with the nation Tuesday night, although with a lot uncertainty over when votes will likely be counted in aggressive states, it is not clear whether or not and when one will likely be in a position to precisely declare victory and one will concede defeat.

Biden will likely be in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on election night. His marketing campaign has stated he’ll deal with the nation on the Chase Heart there alongside together with his working mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and their spouses.

Trump, in the meantime, is probably going to transfer his election night occasion to the East Room of the White Home, as a result of Washington’s limits on the quantity of people that can collect indoors in the course of the pandemic made holding an occasion on the Trump Resort problematic.

Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly stated he opposes states counting votes after election night, and is ready to problem these vote counts in courtroom. Legally forged votes are at all times counted after election night; states sometimes don’t certify their election outcomes till weeks afterward. Winners and losers are declared on election nights primarily based on community resolution desks’ evaluation of partial outcomes, which don’t have any bearing on elections’ official outcomes.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to mirror that the final polls shut at 9 p.m. ET in Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas.