If you weren't aware, there's an important election happening in America. The battle between beauty pageant mogul Donald Trump and veteran politician Hillary Clinton to become leader of the free world has been raging for over a year, and now, finally, it's almost time for some goddamn voting. But when will Australians know the results?
First of all, election day in the United States is on Tuesday November 8—but due to the time difference, we'll get most of the action tomorrow.
And yeah, it's weird that Americans cast their votes on a Tuesday. It's apparently something to do with farmers having to travel long distances to the nearest major town in order to vote, back in the early nineteenth century.
Let's break down what will be happening in the US:
The good citizens of Dixville, New Hampshire—there are 12 of them—will cast their ballots at midnight, their time. Which is 4 PM Tuesday AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time), or 2 PM AWST (Australian Western Standard Time). Polls will then open early in the morning in some east coast states, around 10 PM AEST, or 8 PM AWST. If the prospect of a Trump victory is going to make sleeping difficult, you could potentially stay up all night refreshing Twitter and watching election coverage from this point on.
While you were either sleeping or nervously contemplating the potential location of your nuclear shelter, Americans were exercising their democratic right. Polling stations will begin to close around 11 AM AEST, 8 AM AWST. We will still only have a very vague idea of the results at this point. By 3 PM AEST, polling will have closed on the west coast.
This is when we're likely to have a good idea of who the next president will be. When west coast polls close, US networks will feel free to call the winner without influencing those who have not yet voted. So if everything goes to plan, we'll have some educated predictions by around 3 PM AEST, 1 PM AWST.
To get to the White House, one candidate will need 270 electoral college votes. According to recent polls, Clinton could win comfortably. If there's no clear result, we could get an Al Gore/Bush situation where votes are recounted in key states. Otherwise, the United States constitution actually provides for the House of Representatives to decide who the winner is.
Obama gets to stay in the White House until January 20, when the new president is sworn in.
WHERE CAN I WATCH ELECTION COVERAGE?
Ever wanted Karl Stefanovic's hot take on Hillary 2016? You're about to get it. The man himself is in the states right now, along with the ABC's veteran commentator Laurie Oakes, and The Project's Waleed Aly. Former politicians Kim Beazley and Bob Carr will also be on the ground.
Sky News will provide election coverage from 2 AM AEST, Channels 7 and 9 from 2.30 AM AEST, the ABC from 3 AM, and all networks will begin live coverage from 10 AM AEST. Channel Ten has partnered with US network CBS, while Channel 9 has partnered with ABC America. This means both will have access to up-to-date polling information from those networks.
Basically, Australian networks are going all out with this election—we're more fascinated by this US election campaign than we have been in some time. Perhaps because the stakes are just so... ridiculously high?
Of course, if you're at work or can't stomach endless hours of TV, VICE news is bringing you coverage of the vote, as it happens.
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