Election Day 2016 — Who’s Winning, Where You Can Vote & More
The 2016 election comes to a close Tuesday, though it probably doesn't need to be called "Election Day" anymore. Calling it "Final Day of Voting" would be more accurate, considering how many states have embraced early voting -- some allowing residents to cast ballots weeks ago, all the way up through Tuesday.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump plan to hold their closing parties in Midtown Manhattan, just a few miles apart, bringing to an end one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in recent memory. As much as 82 percent of Americans have said that this election has made them feel "disgusted," compared with just 13 who said it makes them feel "excited."
Here's a look at what to expect:
Where Can You Vote?
When it comes to elections, nothing is more important than the act of voting itself. Facebook has provided an easy way to find your polling place, based on your address.
Google is providing a similar, equally easy way to find your polling place, also based on your registered address.
What Is the Current State of the Race?
Going into Tuesday, various websites that aggregate national and state polls show a close race, with Hillary Clinton holding a lead of between 3 and 5 percentage points.
Real Clear Politics has Clinton with a 3.3-point lead:
FiveThirtyEight gives Clinton a 3.8-point lead:
The Huffington Post gives Clinton a 4.6-point lead:
What States Are in Play?
The presidential election is not a direct election -- meaning, whoever gets the most votes nationwide doesn't actually matter. (Just ask Al Gore.) America uses a state-by-state system, known as the Electoral College, which means that certain states -- frequently called swing states or battleground states -- often determine the outcome.
This year, as in many recent elections, Florida looms large. Its 29 electoral votes (out of 538 total) are the largest of the swing states, and polling in the Sunshine State shows a very close race. Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire are all considered toss-ups.
In the event that one candidate or the other vastly outperforms his or her polls, that could really open up the map. If there is a Republican surge, expect Donald Trump to challenge in typically Democratic strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and perhaps Maine. However, if there is a Democratic wave, Hillary Clinton may be the first of her party in many years to win in Arizona or Georgia, possibly even making a real race out of Texas. But more than likely, the final result will reflect what the latest polling averages indicate -- which shows a small but clear Clinton victory.
When Will We Know Who Won?
We will probably know the results of most states by midnight or so Eastern Time, though as anyone who lived through the 2000 election knows, anything can happen. Each state closes its polls at different times, usually at the top of the hour, depending on what time zone they are in.
You can expect the major networks to make certain obvious calls -- such as highly Democratic New York going for Clinton, or pro-Republican Texas going for Trump -- as soon as polls in those states close. But if the numbers coming in are close and there is no clear winner, networks will call it "too close to call" or "too early to call" -- the second of which meaning that they think one candidate will likely win, but there aren't quite enough votes counted yet to be sure. "Too close to call" means that the vote counts are neck-and-neck enough that it's better to wait until more are counted before making an announcement.