HOW TO FOLLOW ALL OF THE ELECTION DAY ACTION
The U.S. election has played out like an extended reality show, with the final episode scheduled for Tuesday night. Here’s a viewer’s guide (digital and old-school TV) to the last act:
Do all polls close at the same time?
No. Closing times vary, but the key hour to tune in is 8 p.m. when polls close in 22 states from the Atlantic to Texas. By then, more than half the country will be counting votes. The latest polls to close are in Alaska, where some of the polls remain open until 1 a.m.
What time was the last election decided?
The big networks project an unofficial winner as soon as the math adds up. In 2012, a fairly close race, CNN and others called the election for Barack Obama after he won Ohio about 11:15 p.m.
What’s the earliest I can expect to stay up to learn the winner?
It depends on how close the race is, but it’s a safe bet the networks won’t call the race until results from some of the bigger states become clear about 11 p.m.
What are some key states to watch?
Ohio and Florida are always interesting. Ohio tends to vote for the overall winner, making it what’s called a “bellwether” state. Polls remain open in Ohio until 7:30 p.m. and are closed in Florida by 8 p.m.
Florida, with its 29 electoral college votes, is considered essential if Trump is to have a shot at the White House. Florida’s a tricky one for TV viewers, though. Their polls close early but the state has had trouble counting votes quickly. It took four days to make results official in 2012 and four weeks in 2000.
What is the electoral college and how does it work?
The presidency isn’t necessarily decided by who wins the most votes. It’s decided by who wins the most electoral college votes. There’s a difference.
In each state, there are people designated by each candidate to act as his or her electors if they win the popular vote.
States get one electoral vote for each of their congressional districts and senators, for a minimum of three total votes each.
Electoral votes are given out on a winner-take-all basis, except in Maine and Nebraska, which award their congressional votes by who wins each district.
The 50 states plus three votes for the District of Columbia give a grand total of 538 electoral votes, meaning Trump or Clinton must win 270 electoral college votes to become president.
The system makes it possible to lose the electoral vote — and the presidency — but win the popular vote.
What states should be particularly exciting this year?
Arizona is generally considered Republican turf, but Clinton has been showing well in the polls there. Polls in Arizona close by 9 p.m.
Iowa appears up for grabs and doesn’t have a strong tradition of backing either party. Polls in Iowa close by 10 p.m.
Other “swing states” include: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
What shouldn’t be so exciting?
Pennsylvania’s a big prize — with 20 electoral votes — but polls have Clinton comfortably leading there. However, if Pennsylvania starts to look close, it could be a sign that things are getting very exciting. Polls there close at 8 p.m.
How do they mark their ballots in the U. S.?
There are plenty of methods at play, from pen and paper to scanning and touch screens.
Scanners are the most popular method. They allow paper ballots to be maintained to be counted again, if problems arise.
How can I follow online?
TVs are so last century. News outlets are using Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube and other tools to offer live coverage of election day in ways not possible four years ago.
It’s a fitting close to an election season that has played out on Twitter and Facebook as much as it has on the nightly news.
Here’s your Toronto Star online guide for Tuesday (All times EDT) Snap away
Snapchat users will be able to see “live stories” on the app — showing people at the polls, election results, acceptance and concession speeches and election night celebrations. In the U.S., users will see overlays they can add to their snaps.
The Star will be sending reporter Azzura Lalani to an election party at the Drake Hotel on Queen St. W., where she’ll interview Canadians about what they hope to see — and get a live reaction. Follow us at TorontoStarNews.
Faceoff on Facebook
Follow our Facebook page for indepth analysis and trending articles. Join the discussion with other readers in our comments section.
At 11 a.m., we’re hosting a Facebook Live with Washington correspondent Daniel Dale, who has been covering the election over 16 months and 17 states. Tune in to ask questions about his popular Trump fact-checks and the election in general.
Twitch along with twitter
Follow the Star on Twitter for live results, from reporters who are on the ground in the U.S. and Toronto. We’ll also be hosting a live blog on our website, with Marco Chown Oved and Marina Jimenez reporting the latest news. Daniel Dale will also be tweeting on the ground from the U.S. and his observations will be streamed live.