How the Returns Will Come In

FiveThirtyEight has a great page called When Do Polls Close where you can learn more about the details of each state, when their polls close, when they’re report totals, and if we expect the numbers to shift over time. But it’s in alphabetical order, and I thought it might be nice to see how things will come in, hour-by-hour.

Drop #1: 7pm EST/4pm PST/1pm NZST/1am GMT

Polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.

Drop #2: 30 minutes later

Polls close in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio

Drop #3: 8pm EST/5pm PST/2pm NZST/2am GMT

This is one of the biggest drops of the night, but it brings a lot more races that will be too close to call. It’s at this point where Trump loses his lead and never gains it back again.

Drop #4: 9pm EST/6pm PST/3pm NZST/3am GMT

A bunch of key swing states are going to commit their numbers here, and quite a few of them will favour Biden. That is going to make the numbers quite interesting. Biden will add 79 thanks to large states, which is more than Trump’s entire total up until now. Trump will only add 26 because the states he’ll win will be small in population.

Drop #5: 10pm EST/7pm PST/4pm NZST/4am GMT

Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah. None of these will be surprising.

Drop #6: 11pm EST/8pm PST/5pm NZST/5am GMT

Polls close in California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington. Biden gets the big states for 72 more votes, Trump gets Idaho’s 4. Poor Idaho.

Drop #7: The next few hours

Polls will close in Hawaii and Alaska, adding 4 to Biden’s total and 3 to Trump’s. That leaves us here:

Analysing the “too close to calls”

Trump will probably get Ohio, Texas, and Georgia, increasing his total to 196.

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