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Polls closing, first results roll in on long night of election returns

Nov. 3 (UPI) — The first wave of polls closed in several states Tuesday evening, and Americans began a long night of watching the returns in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are facing off in an election that, due to an increase in mail-in voting — may not follow a traditional election night timeline. It’s possible a projected winner may not be known for days.

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The race has been called in Kentucky (8 electoral votes) and Oklahoma (7) for Trump and in Washington, D.C. (3), Massachusetts (11), Maryland (10), Delaware (3), Vermont (4) and Virginia (13) for Biden.

Early returns in Georgia, the largest of the states to completely finish voting at 7 p.m., favored Biden with 2% of precincts voting. It’s considered a tossup state, and experts won’t be able to call the state for either candidate until they have a full picture of all the votes.

The state carries 16 electoral votes — the winner of the presidential election must secure at least 270.

A majority of polls closed in Florida at 7 p.m. EST, but with the Panhandle in the Central time zone, full results won’t be reported from the state until after 8 p.m. EST, when polls close there. The state carries a hefty 29 electoral votes.

Early returns in the peninsula waffled between Trump and Biden with more than 80% of precincts reporting.

With partial precincts reporting counts, Indiana (20) and South Carolina (9) are trending toward Trump. With 5% of estimated votes reported, New Hampshire is trending in favor of Biden, where he picked up the very first votes counted on Election Day. The entire town of Dixville Notch cast ballots for the former vice president, giving him five votes.

Though local elections officials will begin to release some results immediately after polls close, the final outcome of the election won’t be official until states certify their counts in the coming days.

Some, such as Pennsylvania, may not report large chunks of their results for days because they’ll be counting an abnormally large number of mail-in ballots driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the vote-counting process, states are expected to trend toward Trump and then move closer to Biden as mail-in ballots are counted.

Scenes from Election Day 2020

Medina, Ohio residents cast their votes on election day. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

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