The first US election results are already in! See who’s currently taking the lead – Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Since 50 states and Washington, D.C. are located in six different time zones in the United States, we can already track the US election results.
In some states, polling places close earlier than in others. There are even villages that have already closed their polling stations and declared a winner. To win the 2016 US election, a candidate must get a majority of the Electoral College votes. So it’s not about winning the popular vote in the country even though the popular vote is what gets the attention.
Thus, Trump and Clinton aim to secure 270 out of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. Trump and Clinton have already cast their votes this morning.
US election results: who’s winning now?
The reason some villages and small towns have already declared the winner in their precincts is because they are permitted to open their polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots. For example, in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the winner was declared before the polls even opened in most places (at 12:01 a.m. Eastern). Dixville Notch voted in favor of Clinton, who won four votes against Trump’s two.
Trump secured a confident triumph in another small town in New Hampshire. Millsfield supported the Republican candidate with 16 votes against Clinton’s four.
So these are the first vague US election results available. Stay glued to your phone for the next few hours, as state projections will begin coming in at around 7 p.m. Eastern.
7 p.m. Eastern
Polling stations start to close in eastern states, including the major swing states of Florida, Virginia and New Hampshire, at 7 p.m. Eastern. That’s also the time when opinion polls taken throughout the day can be officially disclosed. The opinion polls will be a projection for all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. Although opinion polls are not 100% accurate, they are a good indication of how the US election results will turn out.
Virginia is of particular interest today. Virginia (which has 13 electoral votes) had always been pro-Republican before it voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Is Virginia ready to go Republican again in 2016?
7:30 p.m. Eastern
At 7:30 p.m., polling stations in some other key states, including Ohio and North Carolina, will close. For Trump to have good chances of becoming the new president, he has to win in either Florida (29 electoral votes) or Ohio (18 electoral votes) today. The Republican has great chances of winning if he triumphs in both.
Florida is one of the states with a split timezone, meaning that while the initial election results from Florida will come at 7:30 p.m., the final polls in the state will close 30 minutes later.
8 p.m. Eastern
In Pennsylvania and another 17 states, the polling stations will close at 8 p.m. Eastern. Pennsylvania is one of the key swing states in 2016.
9 p.m. Eastern
At 9 p.m., polling places close in 10 states, including swing state Colorado and Texas. Although Clinton is expected to win in Wisconsin, there is still a chance for Trump to triumph in this state. In that cast, Trump’s chances of becoming the new president would skyrocket.
Keeping up with the US election results at 9 p.m. is also crucial because the final polls close in Texas. Although the state has always been pro-Republican, Trump’s anti-migrant rhetoric could reduce his chances of winning the state this year. If that happens, it would be great news for Clinton, as the state has a whopping 38 electoral votes.
10 p.m. Eastern
This time is also crucial for US election results because at this time polls close in swing states Nevada and Iowa. These two states as well as other three states closing at this time are seen as pro-Trump.
If Trump doesn’t get his win in Iowa, it’s safe to say that he won’t be handed the keys to the White House today.
11 p.m. Eastern, declaring new President
Polls close at 11 p.m. Eastern on the West Coast, which is considered to be very much pro-Clinton. Although polls in Alaska close at 1 a.m. Eastern, they probably won’t affect the US election results much. So it’s fair to say that 11 p.m. Eastern will be the the time when we finally see how this election has played out. Television networks and cable channels in the US generally agree to wait until that time to officially declare a winner. Doing so before this time may affect voter turnout in the states that are still voting.
Why is the process so strange?
America’s sophisticated election system may be confusing for many people. Let me explain it to you.
Each US state has a certain number of electoral votes. This count of electoral votes, which is based on each state’s population, is the most important factor for US election results. California has the most electoral votes (good news for Clinton), with a whopping 55. Texas, which could easily be Trump’s winning state if it weren’t for his anti-migrant rhetoric, has 38. Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, Delaware, Montana and Washington D.C. each get three electoral votes.
It’s fair to say that most of the states in America are either pro-Republican or pro-Democrat. That’s why it’s easy to predict a winner in most states. However, there are several swing states that could make a huge difference in the US election results. In fact, there are about a dozen of states that have been voting for both Republicans and Democrats in the recent elections.
Those states include Florida (29), Iowa (6), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Nevada (6), Colorado (9) and New Hampshire (4). These are the states both Trump and Clinton have been hitting hard during their presidential campaign. Trump has been promising to “Make America Great Again,” while Clinton has been inviting big celebrities to support her.