US Election Results
October 26, 2004 5:16 AM   Subscribe

When does the polling places for the presidential election i the US open (and close)? I'll be following it from Denmark, and I would like to know if it's going to be an all-nigther.
posted by Eirixon to Law & Government (12 answers total)
usually 9pm is the latest (it's different in every state), but some polling places can stay open until everyone on line is able to cast their vote. I'd say 11pm or Midnight EST.

Anything reported then (say, a prediction of who won) is based on Exit Polls, and not actual vote counts, i don't think). After bad press for declaring a winner in the past before the west coast polls had closed, they wait til 11pm usually (California polls close at 8 pm their time).
posted by amberglow at 5:42 AM on October 26, 2004

Polls close at 8 p.m. here in Maine (northeast corner GMT -5). They close at 6 p.m. in Hawaii, which is GMT -10. The networks will not generally make formal predictions until after polls close on the west coast. If it's really obvious, the loser will make a concession speech, or at least concession phone call to the winner sometime after polls close on the west coast.

I'd expect lots of recounts and challenges. After the disaster of 2000, both sides are gearing up to scrutinize voting nationwide, and especially in states like Ohio and Florida. All-nighter may be the best-case scenario.
posted by theora55 at 6:02 AM on October 26, 2004

Each state typically has a law stating when their polls close.

Ohio polls close at 7:30 eastern time.

Florida polls close at 7:00, but the state is in two time zones, so I wouldn't expect news organizations to attempt to call the state for a candidate until 7:00 central/8:00 eastern at the earliest.

If both Ohio and Florida are clearly and immediately called for Kerry around 8:00 eastern time, Kerry is probably going to sweep.

Minnesota and Wisconsin close at 8:00 central. Iowa closes at 9:00 central.

If the race remains somewhat close at this point, the outcome won't be clear until Oregon closes at 8:00 pacific time/11:00 eastern at the earliest. California and Hawaii close at the same time; that might be when news organizations will report a winner (Basically ignoring Alaska, the last state to close).

Of course, this is assuming that there are clear winners in individual states. If Ohio is extremely close, the outcome could be in doubt until the early morning (or for weeks....)

In 2000, there was an incident where a judge in Missouri ordered some polls to stay open later than the official closing time, so that can happen too...

I found a grid of 2002 closing times here, some times may have changed since then.
posted by gimonca at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2004

They open here at 6 AM (EST).
posted by alan at 6:56 AM on October 26, 2004

On the other hand, it looks like Pennsylvania also closes at 8:00 eastern. If Pennsylvania goes early and clearly for Bush, a Kerry win is not impossible, but very unlikely.

If Virginia, which closes at 7:00 eastern, is called clearly and early for Kerry, that would probably be an early indicator of a Kerry win. Kerry doesn't need Virginia; the assumption would be that Bush would be losing a state that has been close in the polls, but he should have won.

Likewise, Michigan--which may be called by the networks at 8:00 eastern--should go to Kerry. If it's called early for Bush, Kerry has probably lost.
posted by gimonca at 7:09 AM on October 26, 2004

Okay, here's the 2004 poll closing times.
posted by gimonca at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2004

It's probably going to be an all-monther, so you're question is likely...sans importance....
posted by ParisParamus at 7:57 AM on October 26, 2004

I expect the Coalition of Midwestern States to formally declare war on Westland sometime in early spring after a few minor skirmishes. It's anybody's guess who Nevada will side with, but New Mexico will probably remain neutral under pressure from Arizona and Texas.

Blood will flow in the streets of DC as the Southeastern Alliance marches toward Maryland. Ohio and Florida will be pure bedlam, and The Independent State of Chicago could be under siege for months.
posted by Eamon at 8:51 AM on October 26, 2004

Here's the same information as in gimonca's link, but in a convenient map form.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida are three key swing states to watch which close relatively early. If either candidate takes all three of these, he's probably got the election sewn up.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:27 AM on October 26, 2004

Here is a handy Election Night Cheat sheet: Hour-by-hour Guide to Election Night 2004 that seems relatively correct. Basically it charts out how many Electoral Votes are up for grabs at each hour, and how many each candidate must have to win every hour.
posted by plemeljr at 4:07 PM on October 26, 2004

The last polls to close will be Alaska at 1 AM EST November 3, but practically those votes will go to Bush. So Hawaii and the West Coast at 11 PM EST is the final close. I do wonder how Oregon will do exit polling where there are no exits to speak of, since all voting is done through individual absentee voting.
posted by calwatch at 9:04 PM on October 26, 2004

The polls close at the times indicated in the links people provided.

However, this election all results are going to be exit polling: there's no VNS "projections" of state victories, from what I've been told, because after the 2000 Florida time zone outrage groups protested that they might declare, for example, Ohio for someone with two hours left to vote in California.

In other words, while we'll have a rapidly-fluxuating unofficial exit poll all evening, there won't be any official declaration of a winner until 11:00 PM. And that's only if there's a clear, unambiguous winner.

Grab coffee, because at a minimum, you're not going to hear a concession speech until Midnight at the earliest.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:16 AM on October 27, 2004

« Older Page layout software for the Mac?   |   Ways for an American to become a permanent... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.