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Nearly 100 million voters already voted ahead of the US election on Tuesday, November 3. Millions more are expected to head to the polls today to decide who will be America’s next President, and polls suggest Democrat Joe Biden is currently in the lead. But as the 2016 election proved, polling data is not always accurate and Donald Trump could be on course for a second term in America’s top job.
When will exit polls be released?
Exit polls can be released from around 5pm EDT (10pm GMT) on November 3.
As soon as polls close in a specific state, broadcasters are allowed to release the exit poll for that state only.
Kentucky and Indiana will close its polls at 6pm EST, which is 11pm GMT.
Ohio will close its polls at 12.30am GMT, followed by Missouri at 1am GMT.
Polls in other US states will then close over the course of the night, including New Mexico at 2am GMT and Nevada at 3am GMT.
States across the West Coast will close polls at 4am GMT (11pm EST).
By this point a winner may have been declared, if one candidate secures the 270 electoral college votes needed for the presidency.
But in a number of elections the vote count has gone on past midnight, such as in 2000, 2004 and 2016.
Although exit polls can tell the media and public a lot about an election, the true result of the election will not be known until all ballots are counted.
Exit polls are not always effective at determining the result of the election.
But as a record number of mail-in ballots have been sent this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exit polls may prove more inaccurate this year than in other years.
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Political analysts FiveThirtyEight have been many people’s first port of call for polling data during this US election.
But the site has declared it will not be covering exit polls on election night.
FiveThirtyEight states: “That’s because pandemic-related changes to how the exit polls are being conducted will make them even less reliable this year.”
It adds: “Exit poll numbers can – and do – change over the course of election night, so you should be especially skeptical of the earliest exit-poll numbers, typically released around 5pm Eastern.”
Other US media outlets will be releasing exit poll results over the course of election night.
When will we know who is President?
Mr Trump has stated the election result could be challenged in the Supreme Court, which could delay any conclusive victory in the election.
Throughout the campaign Mr Trump has made numerous claims about mail-in ballot fraud, but these claims have been frequently debunked.
Mr Trump has also stated he will send lawyers to review the votes in key swing states after the election.
The Supreme Court has approved rulings for Pennsylvania and North Carolina to count absentee ballots that arrive shortly after Tuesday but are postmarked before election day.
Trump told reporters, “We’re going to go in night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait a long period of time after the election.
“Should’ve gotten their ballots in a long time before that. Could’ve gotten their ballots in a month ago. I think it’s a ridiculous decision.”
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