Election Day promises to be a nail-biting marathon
Grab some toothpicks to prop open your eyelids because Election Day promises to be a marathon.
Polls open before dawn Nov. 8, and it will be Wednesday on the East Coast before the last votes are cast.
It will be strictly a spectator sport for the estimated 46 million people who are likely to vote in advance. People in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have no choice but to vote by mail.
The presidential nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, are expected to vote the old-fashioned way, trooping to their polling places in New York and undoubtedly trailed by cameras.
Their running mates, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Mike Pence of Indiana, are likely to vote at home, later heading for New York to team up with their principals after spending much of the last three months promoting their respective tickets on their own.
It’s a curtain-closer on one doozy of a presidential election and on House and Senate races that will determine which party controls Congress for the next two years.
A look at how Election Day unfolds, using Central standard time (daylight saving time ends Nov. 6):
>> 5 a.m.: The earliest polls open in scattered states along the East Coast. Already, though, a few hardy folk in three tiny New Hampshire towns will have gathered just after midnight to win bragging rights as the first to cast Election Day ballots.
>> 6 p.m.: Polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. This will be the first opportunity to read tea leaves about how things are going. Watch Virginia for an early indication in the presidential contest. Watch Indiana for an early indicator in the Senate; if Evan Bayh can manage a comeback, that’ll be a good sign for Democrats who are hoping to retake the Senate.
>> 6:30 p.m.: North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia polls close. North Carolina is a good state to watch on the presidency. It tends to be quick-counting but the race is also close. On the Senate side, if Democrat Deborah Ross wins her Senate race there, it will help put her party on track to regain the Senate. Currently, the Senate has 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
>> 7 p.m.: Polls close in 16 states and the District of Columbia, including New Hampshire, Florida and Pennsylvania. Lots of states crucial to control of the Senate are among the 7 p.m. states, too. If Democrats were to win in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri and New Hampshire, as well as Indiana, that would point them toward possible control of the chamber.
>> 7:30 p.m. Arkansas chimes in, considered a solid state for Trump.
>> 8 p.m.: Polls close in 14 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin. Among the 8 p.m. states, Wisconsin offers Democrats their best chance to pick up a Senate seat. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is in a close race against former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.
>> 9 p.m.: Polls close in four states, including Utah, which is an improbable toss-up this year despite its reliably Republican history. That’s because Trump is deeply unpopular with Utah’s Mormons, who are giving a serious look to third-party candidates Evan McMullin and Gary Johnson.
>> 10 p.m.: Polls close in five states including solidly Democratic California with its 55 electoral votes.
Hillary Rodham, second from left in the back, poses with the Maine South High School debate team in her 1965 school yearbook. Photo courtesy of Maine Township High School District.(Handout, Main Township High School District 207)
Hillary Rodham, at her 1969 graduation, is flanked by (left) John Quarles, chairman of the board of Wellesley College; Ruth M. Adams, president of Wellesley; and Sen. Edward W. Brooke.(Wellesley College / Wellesley College)
Bill and Hillary Clinton attend church in the 1970s.(Clinton House Museum)
Then-Gov. Bill Clinton holds daughter Chelsea, 4, with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton in Little Rock, Ark., in 1984.(The White House / NYT)
Steve Kroft, center, conducts an interview for “60 Minutes” with then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. It aired in January 1992.(CBS Photo Archive)
Then-Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton stands with his wife Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Ky., on July 21, 1992.(The Associated Press)
Hillary Clinton poses with with her mother, Dorothy, and her father, Hugh Rodham, left, in a New York hotel in July 1992 during the Democratic National Convention in New York City.(Ron Frehm, ASSOCIATED PRESS)
First lady Barbara Bush, left, walks with first lady-to-be Hillary Clinton at the White House on Nov. 19, 1992, in Washington.(Doug Mills / AP)
Bill Clinton is sworn in as President of the United States as his daughter Chelsea, left, and his wife Hillary look on Jan. 20, 1993, in Washington, DC.(Cynthia Johnson, Hulton Archive via Getty Images)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton, accompanied by President Bill Clinton, reaches out to greet a visitor during the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, on Feb. 4, 1993.(Greg Gibson / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton walk together toward the oval office after leaving a motorcade at the White House in 1993.(Rich Lipski / The Washington Post)
President Bill Clinton gives Hillary Clinton a proud hug after she made a shot during a round of golf at the Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard on Aug. 27, 1993.(Greg Gibson / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton, holding a copy of the Clinton health-care plan, kicks off a three-state campaign with a visit to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on Oct. 28, 1993.(Joe Marquette, AP)
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wait to address a group of young Democratic supporters known as the Saxophone Club in Washington on June 22, 1994.(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
President Bill Clinton, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, sing a hymn during church services at the Bethel African Methodist Church in the Harlem section of New York on Sept. 25, 1994.(Wilfredo Lee / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton appears with Oprah Winfrey on Winfrey’s television show on May 16, 1995. Clinton told the audience that parents in particular and society in general must get more involved in child-rearing.(AFP/Getty Images)
President Bill Clinton, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, leave the Foundry Methodist Church in Washington after services Sunday, Dec. 24, 1995.(Greg Gibson, AP)
President and Mrs. Clinton escort Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel of Chicago after presenting him with a 1997 National Humanities Medal during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 29, 1997.(Ron Edmonds / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launches the Chicago Citywide Reach Out and Read Literacy Program and gives a progress report on the first year of the Prescription for Reading Campaign on April 28, 1998, in Chicago.(Phil Greer, Chicago Tribune)
President Bill Clinton puts his arms around first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and daughter, Chelsea, left, on May 3, 1998, as they leave Macarthur Park restaurant in Stanford, Ca.(Ruth Fremson, Associated Press)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton waves to a crowd of supporters before an address outside the Kate Mullany House in Troy, N.Y., on July 15, 1998.(Doug Mills / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton signs autographs for children during a visit to Lagan Meadows in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Sept. 3, 1998, shortly before the arrival of President Bill Clinton from Moscow. They would later travel to Omagh to meet relatives of victims of the Northern Ireland bomb tragedy.(Jeremy Selwyn / AFP-Getty Images)
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton arrive back at the White House on Nov. 9, 1998, with their dog Buddy after a weekend at Camp David.(Ron Edmonds, Associated Press)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton chats with Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa during a visit to Carl Theodore Georg Regional Hospital in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, on Nov. 20, 1998. During the visit, Clinton announced that the U.S. would provide an additional $14.2 million in aid to the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.(Roberto Borea / AP)
Then-first lady Hillary Clinton watches President Bill Clinton pause as he thanks those Democratic members of the House of Representatives who voted against his impeachment on Dec. 19, 1998.(Susan Walsh / AP)
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton greet the audience at a Washington, D.C. soup kitchen in December 1998.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
A smiling first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton takes part in the White House Convening on Hispanic Youth and Children, on Aug. 2, 1999, in the East Room of the White House.(Ron Edmonds, Associated Press)
Then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses delegates at the Democratic National Convention in August 2000.(Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)
Sen.-elect and first lady Hillary Clinton, right, holds hands with daughter Chelsea as they wave to supporters after her election night victory speech in New York on Nov. 7, 2000. Clinton defeated Republican Rep. Rick Lazio to become the first presidential spouse elected to Congress. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch looks on from the center rear.(Lynsey Addario / AP)
President Bill Clinton, left, escorts then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, followed by former President Gerald R. Ford with former first lady Betty Ford, former President Jimmy Carter with former first lady Rosalynn Carter, and former President George Bush with former first lady Barbara Bush, as they make their entrance into the East Room during a dinner in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the White House in Washington on Nov. 9, 2000.(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
Then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, center, leads New York Gov. George Pataki, left, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., on a tour of the site of the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 12, 2001.(Robert F. Bukaty / AP)
Five former first ladies gather for a group photo at a gala 20th anniversary fundraising event saluting Betty Ford and the Betty Ford Center on Jan. 17, 2003, in Indian Wells, Calif. From left are Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.(Reed Saxon / AP)
Former President Bill Clinton bows his head to the audience as he and then-Sen. Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., participate in a ceremony for the unveiling of the Clinton portraits on June 14, 2004, in the East Room of the White House.(Ron Edmonds / AP)
Former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, from left, and Hillary Clinton, then-first lady Laura Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush walk from the William J. Clinton Presidential Center to the podium during the presidential library’s opening ceremonies in Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 18, 2004.(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley sits next to Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Economic Club of Chicago’s 78th annual dinner meeting at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers on April 11, 2006.(Candice C. Cusic / Chicago Tribune)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain listen to President George W. Bush speak during the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 1, 2007, in Washington, D.C.(Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)
Sens. Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk before a debate between Democratic contenders for the presidency in Orangeburg, S.C., on April 26, 2007.(Pete Souza / Chicago Tribune)
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., fourth from left, joins Democratic contenders for president before a debate in Orangeburg, S.C., on April 26, 2007. From left are Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; former Sen. John Edwards of South Carolina; Clyburn; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Also debating but not pictured was Mike Gravel, former U.S. senator from Alaska.(Pete Souza / Chicago Tribune)
Then-Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., gesture during a Democratic presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Jan. 21, 2008.(Mary Ann Chastain / AP)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks on stage at a Super Tuesday primary night rally on Feb. 5, 2008, in New York City.(Chris Hondros / Getty Images)
This image provided by NBC shows then-Sen. Hillary Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” with Amy Poehler, left, who played Clinton on the show.(Dana Edelson / AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., walks on the tarmac with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., on June 27, 2008, at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport.(Alex Brandon, AP)
Then-President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., listen to questions at a news conference where Clinton was named his choice for secretary of state on Dec. 1, 2008, in Chicago.(Scott Olson, Getty Images)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin speak before Clinton chaired the Security Council Session on Women, Peace and Security during which the council voted on a resolution to address sexual violence in armed conflict on Sept. 30, 2009, at UN headquarters in New York City.(Stan Honda, AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama, flanked by then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, walks from the White House to the Blair House to participate in bilateral meetings April 11, 2010 in Washington, D.C.(Pool / Getty Images)
Former President Bill Clinton, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, second from left, pose with their daughter Chelsea during her marriage ceremony with Marc Mezvinsky on July 31, 2010, in Rhinebeck, New York.(Barbara Kinney / AFP/Getty Images)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, hosts the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.(Olivier Douliery / McClatchy-Tribune)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House on May 1, 2011. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is second from right, foreground.(Pete Souza / The White House)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a statement to the press on U.S. sanctions on Syrian oil at the State Department in Washington, D.C, on August 18, 2011.(Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her BlackBerry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea bound for Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 18, 2011.(Kevin Lamarque / AP)
Then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , left, meets with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Israel, on July 16, 2012. Peres died on Sept. 28, 2016 in Israel at the age of 93.(Abir Sultan, EPA)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets with then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 8, 2012.(Mikhail Metzel / AP)
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jieche at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on Sept. 4, 2012.(Feng Li / AFP-Getty Images)
Then-Secretary of State Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton wave goodbye after an event promoting Clinton’s book “Hard Choices” at the Harris Theater on June 11, 2014.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign her book “Hards Choices” at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard on August 13, 2014.(Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images)
Former U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives the thumbs up to then-Gov. Pat Quinn as they leave the Barnes and Noble store following a quick visit at Jackson Blvd. in Chicago, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.(Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Hillary Clinton arrives on Roosevelt Island in New York on June 13, 2015, to officially launch her campaign for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
(Andrew Gombart / EPA)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton flexes her muscles with Miss Teen New Hampshire Allie Knault, center, and Miss New Hampshire Holly Blanchard, during a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Gorham, N.H.(Robert F. Bukaty / AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leaves a pork chop stand during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15, 2015, in Des Moines.(Charlie Neibergall / AP)
Kate McKinnon, left, portrays Hillary Clinton and Clinton portrays Val the bartender during a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 4, 2015.(Dana Edelson / NBC)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Hillary Clinton speak during a Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2015.(John Locher / AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sits with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as they attend a ceremony after walking in a Memorial Day parade on May 30, 2016, in Chappaqua, N.Y.(Mel Evans, AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at a presidential primary election night rally on June 7, 2016, in New York. Clinton had clinched the nomination.(Julio Cortez, AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fist bumps Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., after speaking at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Thursday, July 14, 2016.(Andrew Harnik / AP)
President Barack Obama hugs Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after addressing the delegates during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016.(Carolyn Kaster / AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after leaving an apartment building in New York on Sept. 11, 2016. Hillary Clinton’s doctors said she was recovering from pneumonia.(Andrew Harnik / AP)
Supporters of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump listen to the first of three presidential debates, on Sept. 26, 2016 at the Trump headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa.(Steve Pope / Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters after the first presidential debate with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Westbury, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.(Matt Rourke / AP)
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looks at national press secretary Brian Fallon’s smart phone while on her plane with aid Huma Abedin and traveling press secretary Nick Merrill at Westchester County Airport on Oct. 3, 2016, in White Plains, N.Y.(Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama acknowledge the reception during an early vote rally at Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016.(Ethan Hyman / TNS)
Then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a concession speech after being defeated by Republican President-elect Donald Trump, as former President Bill Clinton looks, on in New York on Nov. 9, 2016.(Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden attend the unveiling of a portrait of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Dec. 8, 2016.(Michael Reynolds, EPA)
Former Presidential Bill Clinton and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrive on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2017, for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.(Win McNamee, AP)
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton winks and shakes hands with President Barack Obama as former president Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama look on at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington, DC.(Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton kicks off her book tour of her memoire of the 2016 presidential campaign titled “What Happened” with a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square on Sept. 12, 2017, in New York.(Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images)
Be warned: It can take a while for the presidential picture to clarify. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney was still ahead in the electoral and popular vote at 9:30 p.m.; an hour later, President Barack Obama was on the brink of re-election.
>> 11 p.m.: It could well be almost Wednesday before it’s clear who will control the House next year. Democrats would need a daunting 30-seat gain to take over the 435-seat chamber.
>> Midnight: Polls close in Alaska, which controls three presidential electoral votes.
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