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United States Elections

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times and What To Expect on Election Night

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US election 2018 Poll closing times

Wondering what the Election 2018 poll closing times are in the upcoming United States vote? You came to the right place.

Not only will we take you through what states close at each time, but we figure you want to know when the BIG stuff is going to happen as well. At what point will we have a sense for how the election went? When will it become clear if the Republicans have held or lost their Congressional majorities? Using our own predictions as a guide, we will try to answer that for you as well.

For the poll closings, these are organized chronologically. We go hour-by-hour, and sometimes by half-hour, and break it down in all 50 states plus Washington, DC.

OUR ELECTION 2018 CURRENT PREDICTIONS: State Governors | US Senate | US House

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 6pm Eastern

6:00pm ET 5:00pm CT 4:00pm MT 3:00pm PT
Indiana (ET), Kentucky (ET)
Key Races: Indiana Senate, Kentucky-06

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 7pm Eastern

7:00pm ET 6:00pm CT 5:00pm MT 4:00pm PT
Florida (ET), Georgia, Indiana (CT), Kentucky (CT), South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia
Key Races: Florida Senate, Florida Governor, Florida-26, Florida-27, Georgia Governor, Indiana Senate, Virginia-02, Virginia-05, Virginia-07, Virginia-10

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 7:30pm Eastern

7:30pm ET 6:30pm CT 5:30pm MT 4:30pm PT
North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia
Key Races: North Carolina-02, North Carolina-09, Ohio Governor, Ohio-01, Ohio-12, West Virginia Senate, West Virginia-03

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 8pm Eastern

8:00pm ET 7:00pm CT 6:00pm MT 5:00pm PT
Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida (CT), Illinois, Kansas (CT), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (ET), Mississippi, Missouri New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota (CT), Tennessee, Texas
Key Races: Connecticut Governor, Florida Governor, Florida Senate, Florida-26, Florida-27, Illinois Governor, Illinois-06, Illinois-12, Illinois-13, Illinois-14, Kansas Governor, Kansas-02, Kansas-03, Maine Governor, Maine-02, Michigan Governor, Michigan-08, Michigan-11, Mississippi Senate Special, Missouri Senate, New Hampshire-01, New Jersey-02, New Jersey-03, New Jersey-07, New Jersey-11, Oklahoma Governor, Pennsylvania-01, Pennsylvania-07, Pennsylvania-17, Rhode Island Governor, South Dakota Governor, Tennessee Senate, Texas Senate, Texas-07, Texas-23, Texas-32

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 8:30pm Eastern

8:30pm ET 7:30pm CT 6:30pm MT 5:30pm PT
Key Races: None

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 9pm Eastern

9:00pm ET 8:00pm CT 7:00pm MT 6:00pm PT
Arizona, Colorado, Kansas (MT), Louisiana, Michigan (CT), Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota (MT), Texas (MT), Wisconsin, Wyoming
Key Races: Arizona Senate, Arizona-02, Colorado Governor, Colorado-06, Kansas Governor, Michigan Governor, Minnesota Governor, Minnesota Senate Special, Minnesota-01, Minnesota-02, Minnesota-03, Minnesota-08, Nebraska-02, New Mexico Governor, New Mexico-02, New York-11, New York-19, New York-22, New York-24, New York-27, South Dakota Governor, Texas Senate, Wisconsin Governor

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 10pm Eastern

10:00pm ET 9:00pm CT 8:00pm MT 7:00pm PT
Idaho (MT), Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon (MT), Utah
Key Races: Iowa Governor, Iowa-01, Iowa-03, Montana Senate, Montana-At Large, Nevada Governor, Nevada Senate, North Dakota Senate, Oregon Governor, Utah-04

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 11pm Eastern

11:00pm ET 10:00pm CT 9:00pm MT 8:00pm PT
California, Hawaii, Idaho (PT), North Dakota (MT), Oregon (PT), Washington
Key Races: California-10, California-25, California-39, California-45, California-48, California-49, California-50, North Dakota Senate, Oregon Governor, Washington-03, Washington-05, Washington-08

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 12am Eastern

12:00am ET 11:00pm CT 10:00pm MT 9:00pm PT
Alaska (AKT)
Key Races: Alaska Governor

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: 1am Eastern

1:00am ET 12:00am CT 11:00pm MT 10:00pm PT
Alaska (HAT)
Key Races: Alaska Governor

And now, a handy guide for you so you know what it is you’re watching. If you are observing the United States election from abroad, Eastern Time is UTC-5. For example, the first American polls close at 11pm local time in London.

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 6pm Eastern

Polls will have closed in Indiana and Kentucky, states with a few key races, in Eastern Time portions only. As results funnel in over the 6pm hour, the first trends will manifest themselves. Pay particular attention to the Indiana Senate race and the Kentucky-06 House race. Both are expected to be very close. Should the early returns strongly favor one party or another, the talking heads on the cable news networks will be chirping.

They will, however, be early trends.

Predicted House Standings by 6:59pm: Rep 11, Dem 3, Uncalled 1

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 7pm Eastern

Now we’re starting to get down into it. Central Time portions of Indiana and Kentucky have closed, but so have Florida (Eastern), Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. We will at this point get our first look at the huge races in Florida as well as Georgia’s intriguing gubernatorial race, and also Virginia’s competitive House races. By 7pm, polls in seven states will have closed.

Florida dumps its early vote numbers almost right away, so not long after the polls close, you will have significant numbers in the Sunshine State. Early voter turnout in Florida has been massive. (Link: Naples Daily News) Indiana and Kentucky are nice states with good people, but Florida is the first key swing state on the board on election night and it will get attention. In the 7pm hour, however, you will have more clarity on the Kentucky and Indiana races. This is the earliest either would be called, but only if it’s not as close as predicted.

If any of the big Florida races were called in this hour, it’s because (a) the early vote was substantial enough and (b) the leads are substantial enough. Depending on which way this goes, the pundits will start forming their opinions. Chances are, however, they won’t call Florida’s statewide elections until after the Panhandle closes. You would think the networks learned their lesson in 2000.

Predicted House Standings by 7:29pm: Rep 40, Dem 24, Uncalled 11

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 7:30pm Eastern

We are up to 10 states with polls closed as North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia close shop.

The West Virginia Senate race will likely be called sooner rather than later, though perhaps not right at 7:30pm, with Joe Manchin the probable winner. Results are still unfolding in the other states and by now, we already have an idea of who will win the Florida Senate and governor’s races. Indiana Senate will look a lot clearer as well, Georgia governor will start making a little sense, and votes will be pouring in from Virginia, though few or no calls in the big races yet.

Republicans will appear to have a clear lead in the US House race but seats will be teetering.

Predicted House Standings by 7:59pm: Rep 59, Dem 31, Uncalled 18

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 8:00pm Eastern

8pm is one of the most significant hours on election night. 19 more states will close some or all of their polls, meaning over half the country is closed with a total of 29 states plus Washington, DC. By now, it will be a flood of results, and some of the early key races will get called. We may even have calls in both of Florida’s huge elections. If you are susceptible to election overload, it’s going to really kick in at this hour.

Democrats will also begin closing the gap with Republicans in the House standings, with dozens of races hanging in the balance.

Predicted House Standings Range by 8:29pm: Rep 130-132, Dem 105-107, Uncalled 38

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 8:30pm Eastern

Arkansas becomes the 30th state to close its polls. There are few interesting races in the Natural State, but what is happening everywhere else will start piling up. Earlier key races will continue to break in a certain direction and get called.

Predicted House Standings Range by 8:59pm: Rep 136-141, Dem 106-111, Uncalled 34

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 9pm Eastern

The East Coast is completely closed by 9pm Eastern, and we continue our march into the American heartland towards the Pacific Ocean. Nine more states will close, bringing us up to 39 overall. It is at 9pm that television networks might start to get bold and make the biggest projections of the night so far, and may put out forecasts based on results to date and exit polls suggesting outcomes for the US House. Waves of calls will start coming in and the numbers will pile up in the House and Senate.

By now, at least one governorship will have officially flipped to the Democrats, possibly Florida or Maine, but almost certainly Illinois. There will NOT be a call in the Arizona Senate race when the polls close, and I know this surprises you.

In the 2010 Republican wave election, Fox News, for example, called the House for the Republicans in the 9pm hour. CNN was not far behind, if at all. That was a 63-seat gain for the GOP. This could be a wave election as well, but perhaps not as big as a gain of 63. Democrats, if they are hoping for a victory, will probably have to wait.

Predicted House Standings Range by 9:59pm: Rep 163-169, Dem 143-149, Uncalled 42

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 10pm Eastern

We are running out of states to call, with seven more entering the fray. We haven’t quite made it to the West Coast yet but are getting close. Speaking of things that are close, for some of the House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races that have been counting for several hours by now, they’re going to start getting called if they haven’t been already. If the House or Senate is called in the 10pm hour, then it was a good night for the party that pulled it off. That’s not locked in stone, as it’s quite possible at least one chamber gets called at this time.

By 10pm, you will know if there was a “Blue Wave” or if it fizzled out. In fact, you will have probably known for at least an hour.

Predicted House Standings Range by 10:59pm: Rep 177-184, Dem 149-156, Uncalled 39

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 11pm Eastern

We have made it to the Pacific Coast with states like California closing polls. One would think by now, it will be very clear what has happened in Election 2018. If there are significant Republican losses, they will already be piling up. Should the Democrats not be doing as well as expected, however, this makes California and Washington’s competitive House races very interesting. Based on our current thinking on how the election will go, we suspect Democrats will take the House seat count lead for the first time at 11pm. This is due to a flood of safe blue seats going on the board.

Only one state, Alaska, will be left after this. If the GOP has built up enough of a margin, they can ride out California electing 40-plus Democrats and the West Coast in general going solid blue. They probably need to be at least 40 seats clear of the Democrats in the head count by 11pm to have a chance, as California alone will wipe out the edge they had the whole evening.

Meanwhile, more races in the East will be called and the election will be winding down on that side of the Mississippi.

Predicted House Standings Range by 11:59pm: Dem 210-217, Rep 198-205, Uncalled 18

Election 2018 Poll Closing Times: What To Expect at 12am Eastern

The last state, Alaska, closes its polls; only the Aleutian Islands remain, and they will hardly decide the outcome of the national election. By now, you will know if the GOP has held the Senate and the House. We predict that by midnight Eastern, the Democrats will have taken a few licks in the Senate, with a few undecided races. It would otherwise be clear that the Republicans will hold the Senate for the next two years.

We predict the Democrats to formally cross the finish line at around midnight, given that we forecast a relatively close final count in the House. Only a handful of races scattered throughout the country will be uncalled at this time. A few might be in recount and/or litigation territory if they continue into the early morning hours.

Predicted House Standings Range by 12:59am: Dem 215-222, Rep 201-208, Uncalled 12

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