The VICE Election Liveblog

Check back throughout the day for live Election Day results and commentary.
November 8, 2016, 5:00am

1:55 That's All for Now

As of this moment it seems likely that Clinton will concede soon, but since no result has been officially called by anyone, it's not clear when that will happen. But we're going to call it quits for now—expect a lot more stories and analysis on in the coming days and weeks. Goodnight.

1:50 Photo by Jason Bergman:

1:41 It's… Pretty Much Over?

BREAKING: Trump wins Pennsylvania. — The Associated Press (@AP)November 9, 2016

That call puts Trump at 264 electoral votes out of 270 needed to win. If Trump gets Arizona he wins. If Trump gets Wisconsin—which has already been called for him by Fox News—he wins.

At the Clinton event, the TVs have been turned off and are displaying her H logo. "Seems like somone is about to take the stage," says photographer Jason Bergman.

1:26 Senate Stays Republican

BREAKING: Republicans retain control of the Senate with victory in Pennsylvania.

— The Associated Press (@AP)November 9, 2016

1:07 The Polls Have Closed

Even in Alaska and Hawaii, voting is done except for the few people remaining in line at polling stations. Counting and projecting and calling will continue. No one seems to be assuming anything but a Trump victory, even though he hasn't breached the electoral vote threshhold yet.

12:28 Nevada Goes for Clinton

Democrats still clinging to hope got some good news a few minutes back when Nevada was called for Hillary Clinton by the Associated Press.

12:07 No Official Word Yet, but…

"What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" was playing in the Clinton press area a short time ago. Obama appeared in an election message recorded for BuzzFeed and said, "The sun will rise in the morning." Words. Words, words, words.

11:58 On the Bright Side

Recreational and medical marijuana is going to be legal in more states after this election. It's fully legal in California and Massachusetts, and a measure in North Dakota about medical weed also appear to have passed.

An earlier version of this item misstated what the measure in Massachusetts was about. It was for recreational use.

11:40 Map Update

There's a good chance Clinton will lose the Electoral College and win the popular vote. There's a real, non-zero chance that there will be a tie in the Electoral College. I don't know what it's like where you are, but it's quiet where I am. Not a lot of chatter.

11:33 "Dead silence outside" Clinton event in New York When Florida Result Is Announced

That's from Jason Bergman, who's on the scene there.

11:28 Oregon for Clinton, North Carolina and Utah for Trump

If Trump wins, it will be one of the greatest political upsets in American history. Not sure what to say at this point. If you are a Democrat, a liberal, or just preparing to oppose an all-Republican federal government, it's time to start thinking about what that work would look like.

11:15 Worried

Here's a shot Jason Bergman took of the press at the Clinton campaign event in New York's Javits Center. It says it all:

10:55 AP Calls Florida for Trump

If Clinton wins now, it's going to feel like a major upset.

10:47 Clinton Wins Colorado, Has Narrow Path to Victory

The plan at this point was to be able to blog about smaller races around the country—the ballot measures, Senate races, and so on. But all that stuff seems very small right now with the possibility of a Trump presidency emerging over the last couple of hours and really taking a lot of very smart people by surprise.

There's a big difference here—a Clinton win would mean a continuation of the last several years of gridlock at the federal level. Trump would have a freer hand to enact a lot of Republican policies and appoint a lot of judges. Stricter immigration policies, a repeal of Obamacare, and a withdrawl from climate change agreements would all be on the table, immediately.

A lot of eyes are on Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania right now—it's looking like those states will decide the election.

10:30 Trump Wins Ohio, Clinton Takes Virginia

It looks like Trump won one of the key swing states of 2016, while NBC is projecting Clinton as the victor in Virginia. There are now a lot of must-win states for Clinton left on the map.

10:11 Map Update

The significant thing here isn't what has been filled in, it's what hasn't been—Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Floria, Ohio. Either candidate could win. The stock market is diving.

9:45 The Most Stressful Time

I don't really have a way to link to this, but a lot of people I follow on social media—smart people, anti-Trump conservatives, liberals, journalists, those sorts—are FREAKING OUT. The New York Times has the race at a complete toss-up. Michigan could flip Trump's way. White people are turning out in some areas at unprecedented numbers. President Trump could be a reality.

A lot of people, myself included, more or less took it for granted that Clinton would win. Trump is so manifestly unqualified in so many ways, a liar, a boor, a candidate who targeted his appeal basically only to white men. His victory would tell us something about America we don't really want to hear, that the country's electorate would really elect someone like that just to break apart the DC establishment. It would say that you can talk the way Trump talks and people will love it. It wouldn't mean the US is on the verge of a dictatorship, but it would upend the political landscape pretty drastically. There are a lot of hearts in throats right now.

9:15 The Republicans Won the House

We'll be here for a while given how close the vote is in Ohio and Florida—it's basically tied, in what feels sickeningly like a repeat of 2000—but one thing's for sure: The GOP will maintain control of the House. Again, all as expected.

9:06 A Lot Is Happening!

Check this out:

That's a lot of red—all of it totally expected. Trump, like all Republican candidates, is dominating the South and the plains states. Clinton took New York. Here, from Jason Bergman, is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio saying soothing things to the faithful outside Clinton's campaign event at Javits Center:

8:48 South Carolina Goes Trump

Connecticut went for Clinton too but that was right after I took this photo. Our map may lag behind the others but it makes up for it in… charm?

8:34 PM Still Pretty Tense

Trump has a narrow, narrow lead in Florida now, but there haven't been any surprises yet. Remember that if Trump loses Florida, he's in a lot of trouble, whereas Clinton can win a few ways even without that state.

8:10 PM A Whole Bunch of States Just Got Called

With many polls closing at 8:00, a lot of states suddenly lit up, or got Crayoned, depending on your map:

7:49 PM West Virginia Went to Trump, as Expected

7:40 PM This Is Kinda Weird Right?

Every website in the entire country is spitting out the same scarce information, and aggregating the same expected results. Florida is looking good for Clinton! Beyond that? Who knows! We're all glued to the same screens. It's sort of nice, in a way.

7:30 PM North Carolina Extends Voting Hours

The Durham County Board of Elections—which has two Republicans and one Democrat—extended voting times in eight precincts, reports the Hill.

7:15 PM Our First Results Are In!

According to multiple news organizations, Trump has taken Indiana and Kentucky, while Clinton has control of Vermont. All very normal.

7:07 PM Whoa Check Out This Trump Cake

A Donald Trump cake being wheeled into Trump Tower — Jason Volack (@jasonvolack)November 8, 2016

Hello I would like to order a cake for my party.

The occasion?

I am going to become the most powerful man in the world.

So I would like a cake of my own head.

No, you can't look at a photo of me.

Just imagine a man who has been on an important business trip and been working hard while distracted by thoughts of his ailing wife. Then he gets a call from the hospital that she has taken a turn, and he gets on a very expensive private helicopter to be by her side, to tell her the things he hasn't told her, or hasn't told her often enough, to make up for these lost days when he was stupidly trying to make money rather than being a husband and father. He can't explain why he wasn't there, and he only wants to see her lips upturn one last time, to see her eyes twinkle in recognition, for her to tell him that she loves him and she understands, and she is proud of him.

But when he gets to the hospital she has died, she died nearly as soon as word had reached him. He never had a chance to make it back to her.

Yes, I said this was for a party.

Also my hair should look really hard, like a helmet in an anime.

Thank you.

6:15 PM Searching for Trump Voters in New York

Jason Bergman has been out all day in Manhattan photographing voters, and it's been tough to find anyone anywhere who openly backs Trump. That might not be surprising given that New York is basically Trump's nightmare—multicultural, filled with moneyed interests and immigrants, no close steel mills to point to as a symbol of American decline—but when was the last time a presidential candidate was so despised in his hometown?

This woman in Harlem definitely wasn't on the Trump train.

This guy on the L train at first glance looks vaguely Trump-y, but that shirt says "Immigrants Make America Great." Strike two.

Betty C. McCarthy, in the Bronx, certainly wasn't having any of Trump's nonsense. "I'll be on pins and needles when I get back upstairs," she told Jason after she voted, "because I do not want no DT! That good enough for you?"

Rashad Jenkins, also in the Bronx, was similarly skeptical. "I don't really agree with Donald Trump a lot—I mean, I don't agree with Hillary a lot, but if you have to weigh the two, Donald Trump is just…" he turned to his boy. "What do you like to say?"


"If my six-year-old son says he's cuckoo, he shouldn't be running the country. I don't know how he got so far, honestly," Jenkins went on. "I have a lot of friends that are gonna vote for Donald Trump. A lot of them like his business savvy. I'm like, just because you're a businessman doesn't mean you can run the country."

The one place where Trump supporters were letting their flag fly was outside Trump Tower:

And outside the Hilton where Trump's Election Night event will be held:

Those are a lot of Trump signs, but less Trump votes than you might think: The Starbucks-sipping MAGA guy is Australian.

6:00 PM: Welcome to the War Room

Here is the electoral map our crack team of designers have been working on all day. We will update it throughout what promises to be a very hectic Election Night.

Some notes:

-The earliest polls close is 6 PM, in Indiana and part of Kentucky. Florida polls close at 7 PM. Though you can check out early VoteCastr data at VICE News, states won't be called before then.

-North Carolina may extend its voting hours in some areas, so that state might get called later.

-The funny squares at the top are the districts in Maine and Nebraska that get their own electoral vote for basically no reason.

-Apologies to Texas and Alaska. I know you deserve better.

5:02 PM: Is Your Polling Station Doing Names Wrong?

There are a lot of problems with American democracy, and here is a small one:

In New York City (and, I assume, some other places) a lot of polling stations split voters in two lines, one for people with last names starting with the letters A–M, and the other for last names N–Z.

This afternoon, Aaron Gordon of VICE Sports noticed something strange when he went to vote: The A–M line was incredibly long, but any N–Z voter who showed up could go right to the desk. It got so bad at Aaron's polling place that the N–Z dedicated staffer was helping sort out the A–Ms, but things were still slow. So Aaron did what any journalist would, and launched a Twitter poll:

IMPORTANT: If you voted in NYC, did your table have a very long line for half the alphabet but no line for the other half?

— Aaron W. Gordon (@A_W_Gordon)November 8, 2016

What was going on? Was this the rigging of the vote Trump was talking about? An anti A–M bias?

The way my voting spot was organized, it took like an hour if your last name started with A-M, and much less time at the end of the alphabet

— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal)November 8, 2016

Just when I was getting set to devote a wall of corkboard to tracking the connections, Charlie Kelly style, Aaron alerted me to the fact that FiveThirtyEight was already on it:

This is far from the most important voting inequity today but it might be the easiest to fix. Data via — Carl Bialik (@CarlBialik)November 8, 2016

If you are seeing a long line at the A–M desk, it's not your imagination: There really are more people with last names in that range, and it's weird and sort of bad to split the names like that. Though obviously, there are bigger issues.

4:40 PM: Republicans Who Are Ditching Trump

Update: The below item originally reported the rumor spread by Rush Limbaugh that George W. and Laura Bush voted for Hillary Clinton. It has been changed because that account has been contradicted by New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin.

However the final numbers shake out, Trump will have done better than anyone would have expected a year ago, or even a month ago. The vast majority of Republicans will have supported him warts and all, and he'll have picked up plenty of independent voters who like his outsider credentials or just hate Hillary Clinton.

But just before we all start speaking in a gibberish of numbers and projections, let's remember how badly Trump's rise has shake the GOP, and how many Republicans have refused to get on the Trump train at any cost. Former Republican nominee Mitt Romney won't say who he voted for; George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, reportedly left the presidential slot on their ballots blank; Glenn Beck—Glenn Beck!—thought about casting a ballot for the Democrats before deciding not to vote; conservative stalwart RedState regularly denounces Trump; Lindsey Graham, a conservative senator from South Carolina, is voting for the independent conservative Evan McMullin, who is running as a protest candidate:

I voted — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC)November 8, 2016

How this all shakes out after Election Day is pretty unclear. If Trump loses, the GOP will have to go through another one of its cycles of recrimination and soul-searching, even as it holds onto power in the House of Representatives and in statehouses all over. If Trump wins, however, do all these Republicans fall in line? Or do they form another front of opposition he'll have to contend with, in addition to the women and people of color who will spend the next four years trying to stop him?

3:27 PM: Long Lines at Polling Places, Again

A line at a polling station in Durham, North Carolina, before it opened today. Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

As expected, reports are coming in from around the country of long lines, broken machines, disorganized polling places, and even some cases of voter intimidation.

Civil rights groups told USA Today that voters in Pennsylvania were being asked to provide identification when none was required and Spanish speakers weren't being given proper assistance. In Florida, there have been accusations that people have been shouting through megaphones at voters. Equipment malfunctions in Pennsylvania, Utah, and North Carolina, among other places, have led to delays and voters having to cast ballots using paper rather than those fancy machines.

None of this is unique to 2016. All kinds of stuff happens every Election Day—in 2012, we saw similar stories about broken machines, incredible lines, and angry voters.

What is unusual is a lawsuit filed by the Trump camapain in Nevada alleging that some early voting stations were kept open later than they should have been, allowing presumably Democratic-leaning voters to cast ballots. The suit may be an attempt to prepare for a challenge of the Nevada result, but it's not off to an auspicious start, with a skeptical judge ruling that ballots shouldn't be isolated from the rest of the count because they were allegedly cast late.

By the way, a court challenge to a close vote in Nevada that determines the next president is the central plot point in season five of Veep.

2:10 PM: Oh Yeah, Also Weed Is on the Ballot

One more issue to file under "things that Congress won't do, but the states are taking up": weed. The legalizing of recreational pot is on the ballot in Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and California (all of those states currently allow for medical marijuana).

Obviously, the most important state is that last one—if California legalizes weed, it will open up a massive new market to pot merchants and take the US one step closer to making weed legal from sea to shining sea. The ballot measure, Proposition 64, also makes nods to progressive goals—tax revenue from weed will be partially directed to funds for communities hit hard by the war on drugs, and people with drug convictions would be able to work in the new legal industry. (Banning felons from participating in the weed business, critics of such policies say, has the effect of unfairly freezing people of color out of a profitable field.) Polls say Prop 64 is likely to pass. That's a big deal.

1:10 PM: State Ballot Measures to Watch

Most of what you see and hear today is going to be about the presidential election. It's big, it's important, there's a ton of polling about it, everyone understands it. But there are a lot of other decisions voters will make today, including choices on ballot measures in states across the country.

Ballot measures are ways for voters to decide on laws directly. Sometimes they're proposed by legislatures; in other cases, they're the result of petition drives. Some states have a lot of them—California has 17 statewide ballot measures and a host of local measures. That seems like too many, especially because a lot of these measures are written in confusing, technical language that ordinary voters have no hope of understanding.

In a presidential election season dominated by nastiness and debates over the character of the two candidates at the top of the ticket, these initiatives remind us that people really do care about issues, and voters will decide some pretty important things today. Here are a few:

Coloradocare. This proposed state constitutional amendment in Colorado, which Nathan Schneider has written about for VICE, would replace Obamacare with a government-run insurance system that would cover every resident. It's supported, naturally, by left-leaning folk like Bernie Sanders and opposed by the insurance industry and those who don't want to pay the massive tax needed to fund it. It likely won't pass, but it's still an audacious proposal.

Gun control. The issue has stalled at the federal level, but states have taken gun control into their own hands. California, Washington, Maine, and Nevada all look ready to adopt gun control measures this Election Day. Mostly, these increase the number of situations in which gun buyers have to undergo background checks (a position broadly supported by Americans), but California's ballot measure would ban high-capacity magazines, and Washington would allow a court to take away people's guns if they are an "extreme risk" to themselves or those around them. (Washington already disarms people in cases involving domestic violence.)

Minimum wage. Like gun control, increasing the minimum wage is pretty popular but blocked at the federal level for the foreseeable future. Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Maine are all pushing back against that with ballot measures that would raise the minimum wage in those states to at least $12 by 2020. (Arizona and Washington's measures would also introduce mandatory sick leave policies.) Republican politicians oppose these measures on the usual grounds—higher wages means that the cost of goods will go up, and some businesses might have to lay off workers as a result of the increase. But at a time when wage stagnation is widespread and acutely felt by a lot of Americans, that's not exactly a populist argument.

Ranked-choice voting in Maine. This is a bit of a complicated one, but it could wind up changing how elections are decided. Maine is considering adopting a new election system that would allow voters to rank the candidates rather than simply picking one. Under ranked-choice voting, if none of the candidates have a majority of the vote after the first-place votes are counted, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated and their voters' second-place votes are distributed among the remaining candidates. If no one has a majority after that, the process repeats until somebody did. The basic idea is to prevent third-party candidates from playing spoiler, and allowing third-party voters to cast their ballots with a clear conscience. This measure is likely to pass, and you can imagine it spreading from Maine to other states if it looks like it's working—although if that happens, I hope we find a faster way to explain it.

12:15 PM: Some Lunchtime Links

VICE News is covering the hell out of Election Day—its most recent item is on malfunctioning voting machines in Utah—but the other sites in the VICE family are also pitching in:

Broadly looks at the other women running for federal office this year—a record 167 female candidates are campaigning for House seats, and by the time the dust settles, there could be 23 women in the Senate.

Motherboard is spending the day sharing "comfort content" with readers in need of a break from election tension.

If you're still feeling desperate, MUNCHIES has an election night drinking game for you that should soothe your pain.

VICE Sports can explain to you what the hell is up with that letter from Bill Belichick to Trump.

Noisey's interview with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but it's great.

11:30 AM: Eric Trump Probably Broke a New York Law by Posting a Ballot Selfie, but It's Complicated

The internet is piling on Eric Trump, Donald's son, who this morning tweeted that he had voted for his dad and attached a photo of his ballot. This, BuzzFeed and other outlets reported, was an apparent violation of a law against sharing pictures of your marked ballot with others. It's intended to stop people from selling their votes—presumably, whoever is buying your vote would want some kind of proof. (Trump later deleted the tweet.)

But this isn't a cut-and-dried area of the law. The rules around voting selfies are different in different states, and in New York, it's especially confusing: The New York State Board of Elections says it's fine to take a photo of yourself voting as long as you don't include evidence of how you voted—which is a change from a 2012 decision that made taking photos of your ballot OK. Also, there's a lawsuit challenging this rule, which some people say violates the First Amendment on the grounds that ballot selfies should count as constitutionally protected speech. A judge refused to issue an injunction that would have allowed New Yorkers to photograph their ballots, making Eric Trump's tweet a violation of a law—albeit a law that is rarely enforced.

10:50 AM: Here Is a Photo of a Cool Truck

Photographer Jason Bergman is out in New York City today documenting the election. He'll have dispatches from the Hillary Clinton campaign event at Javits Center later tonight, but for now check out this truck he saw in Bushwick, Brooklyn:

America, what a town!

10:40 AM: Reminder: The Trump Campaign Is Kind of a Mess

Donald Trump has a chance to become president, which speaks to the power of his campaign's message of grievance and the overwhelming thirst among voters for any kind of change. It sure doesn't speak to his political organization, which the New York Times went inside of in an article that ran on Sunday. You should really read the whole thing, but here are some choice excerpts:

His polished older daughter, Ivanka, sat for a commercial intended to appeal to suburban women who have recoiled from her father's incendiary language. But she discouraged the campaign from promoting the ad in news releases, fearing that her high-profile association with the campaign would damage the businesses that bear her name.


The senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, offered to resign after he was spotted at a Las Vegas strip club the night before the final presidential debate. The offer was rejected.


Some despondent young staff members at the Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill, who usually work late into the night in the final stretches of a campaign, took to leaving their desks early, in time for happy hour at bars.


As the aides agonized over which words to feed into the teleprompter, they become so engrossed that a hot light set up next to the machine caused Mr. Bannon's Kuhl hiking pants to begin smoldering.

"I think my pant leg is on fire," he said after noticing the acrid smell.

Dogs can't vote, but you can, probably. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

9:42 AM EST

I got up this morning and voted. It was fine. I got there not long after the polling station opened at 6 AM, but there was still a line to get in and figure out which voting district you were a part of, another line to get your ballot, and a final, shorter line to stand at the little booth and fill it out. Then you insert the ballot into the machine and get an "I voted" sticker. It took about an hour. The poll workers were friendly and helpful; the other voters all seemed happy to wait in the lines.

There are pretty good arguments against voting. One is that it your vote won't "count" in any meaningful sense. Mine certainly won't—Hillary Clinton is going to win my state of New York in a landslide, and the local and state races aren't competitive either. In most of the judicial elections on my ballot, which I know nothing at all about, Republicans didn't even run.

Other anti-voters aren't opposed to the act of voting in general, just these candidates in particular. The idea is that by withholding your ballot you are withholding your moral approval from Clinton or Donald Trump, that your refusal to participate in the system is an act of protest. One of them will be president, but they will not be your president; your voice will not be part of that compromised chorus. The problem is that when the ballots are counted, your abstention based on high principal will be indistinguishable from someone else's failure to vote out of apathy or ignorance. But then again, your individual vote or non-vote won't tip any elections—if it makes you feel good, whatever, you aren't hurting anyone. There are other ways to participate.

So why vote? Today is the one of the few times you have a say, however statistically insignificant, in how the government is run. The majority of humans who have ever lived didn't even have that. Mostly, you lived on some patch of dirt and sometimes men with swords or guns would show up and do whatever they liked and you hoped that those men didn't take a dislike to you. The idea that leaders have to get the approval of the people they govern is a powerful one, and worth taking part in. Much of the time, you won't be helping to elect leaders you agree with on everything, but when in life do you ever get a perfect choice?

You also get something out of voting: a sticker, but also a feeling that you can take with you and carry around all day. You participated in something. Voting is a chore, a hassle, it is in many places a real hardship because there aren't enough polling stations or people to staff them—but it's worth reminding yourself about that that chore is what democracy is made of. Democracy doesn't happen online (thank God) or at rallies but in little rooms all over the country—school gyms and community centers under ugly florescent lights. The rich and poor get the same ballot, all races have to wait in the same line, everyone gets the same sticker. The result isn't always ideal (whatever happens today, half the country is going to be wracked with despair and rage), but the process is a good reminder of what it takes to make a country.