When do the polls close for the US election 2016? All the key times for the US and UK

With six different time zones at play (not to mention the UK), here is all the key information on what times the polls are closing across the US 

Lily Pickard
Tuesday 08 November 2016 15:03 GMT
US election night: Everything you need to know

When do the polls close today?

Due to the US’s six different time zones, it can be tricky to work out when key state polls are closing. Here, we break it down for you in the local times, Eastern Time and UK times.

Breakdown in Eastern Time and GMT

6pm (EST), 11pm (GMT)
Indiana and Kentucky

7pm (EST), 12am (GMT)
Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia

7:30pm (EST), 12.30am (GMT)
North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia

8pm (EST), 1am (GMT)
Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, the eastern half of South Dakota, Tennessee and the most of Texas

8:30pm (EST), 1:30am (GMT)

9pm (EST), 2am (GMT)
New York, Minnesota, the western half of South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin and Wyoming

10pm (EST), 3am (GMT)
Iowa, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Montana

11pm (EST), 4am (GMT)
California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii

12am (EST), 5am (GMT)
Mainland Alaska

1am (EST), 6am (GMT)
Western Islands of Alaska

( -1 for Central Time, -2 for Mountain Time, -3 for Pacific Time)

Key states to look out for

East Coast

Some of the key battleground states – 7 out of the 11, in fact – are on the East Coast, meaning their polls are ones to watch.

Polls start closing across an early 6pm Eastern Time, beginning with most of Indiana and Kentucky.

The bulk of closing times come from 7pm onwards though: Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia all close at 7pm Eastern Time, so midnight in the UK.

North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia follow at 7:30pm ET, with the rest – other than New York – at 8pm.

New York, the joint third biggest voting state with their 29 electoral votes, makes us wait until 9pm ET before closing – that’s 2am in the UK.

Keep an eye out for Florida, which shares third largest vote number with New York at 29 to give: it is a key battleground state, and vital to Trump having any chance of winning.

Ones to watch: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia

Central States

As we move further west comes the central states and the Central Time zone of the US, an hour behind the East Coast.

A host of the CT polls close at 7pm local time, including: Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, most of North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and most of Texas.

Arkansas follows at 7:30pm CT, with Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin at 8pm CT. The final central state, Iowa, will close at 9pm CT.

So all the central states will have closed by 10pm Eastern Time, and 3am in the UK.

These are traditionally Republican strongholds, and are expected to be where Trump gains most of his votes. Iowa and Wisconsin, though, are amongst the 11 key swing states.

Ones to watch: Iowa and Wisconsin

Mountain States

Next the Mountain Time zone: all of these states close at 7pm or 8pm local time, so by 9pm or 10pm Eastern Time.

Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming close at 7pm. Idaho, Utah and Montana follow at 8pm.

In the UK, that’s a 3am close of the Mountain States.

Ones to watch: Colorado

West Coast

The West Coast brings with it Pacific Time, a full four hours behind the East Coast.

First closes Nevada, a battleground state, at 6pm PT, and 10pm ET. California, Oregon and Washington follow at 7pm.

This means that the West Coast polls don’t close until 4am UK time.

California is the biggest electoral state with 55 votes to give out – so the largest amount of votes is saved until practically last.

Ones to watch: California and Nevada

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama during an election eve rally (Getty)

What about Hawaii and Alaska?

Just to make things even more complicated, Hawaii and Alaska each have their own time zone.

Hawaii is 5 hours behind Eastern Time – but closes its polls at 6pm local time, meaning 11pm on the East Coast.

Alaska, meanwhile, is 4 hours behind, but doesn’t close its mainland polls until 8pm local time. This means midnight Eastern Time, and 5am in the UK.

Alaska’s western islands stay open a further hour until 9pm local time – 1am on the East Coast.

A result is usually called before Alaska’s polls have even closed. In 2012, Obama was called for at 11:38pm ET.

When will we know the state results in the UK?

Basically, it is going to be a long night.

The first polls close at 11pm, and stay open until 6am (GMT).

Most of the key states will be closing from around midnight.

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