US election 2016: What time will the results be announced tonight?

Key events to look out for in the US presidential election

Today America decides who will be its next leader

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today marks another monumental day in politics - the election of America's next president. 

Voters in the US have the choice between electing the first female president of the US and a maverick outsider who rails against the political class. The months-long battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been marred by scandal, their conflict dragged into depths never before seen. 

But now, after months of slurs and counter-slurs,trash-talking and tittle-tattle, comes the moment of truth. Scores of people across the country will be aiming to follow it live.

If you're one of those people, here are the key events you need to look out for. 

1. Polls closing

While some states have multiple closing times, all polls will be closed by 1am Eastern Standard Time (EST), roughly 6am Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). 

The first polls will close around 6pm EST. They are usually Indiana and Kentucky. Around an hour later, stations will start to close in the swing states of Florida and Virginia. Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont and Pennsylvania will also close around this time.

Early indicators will be given of the final result, in the form of projections based on exit polls. Whoever wins these swing states will have a great chance of winning the election.

By 9pm EST, most states will have closed their polling stations and will begin to count the results. At 10pm EST, stations in two key swing states, Nevada and Iowa, will close, along with Utah, Arizona and Montana. The final few states, expected to be California and Hawaii, will close polling at 11pm EST.

Alaska will be the final state to declare, at 1am EST (6am UK time) but the result may well have been decided by then.

2. Election results

The first result has actually already been declared - Dixville Notch, a small village in New Hampshire, has declared for Hillary Clinton.

State-wide results will begin pouring in at around midnight British time, before all of the polls are closed. In 2012 the first state, Washington, was 'called' just after 7pm EST, midnight UK time. More will come trickling in even as further polling ends.

At around 11pm EST (4am UK time) the analysts will be in overdrive and projections will be coming thick and fast. 

3. Candidate concedes election

When the election is 'called' and there's no question as to the result, the tradition is that the losing candidate will call the winning person to concede the vote. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will both give speeches, one to officially announce their victory and the other to admit defeat. 

It's impossible to know when (or even if) one of the candidates will concede defeat, but it could happen as early as 4am UK time (they count remarkably quickly in the States). Barack Obama was announced at around 4.30am last year, but there's no guarantee it'll be that early.

4. Candidate gets sworn in as president

After the winner is decided, there will be a period of roughly two months before the new president officially takes over. On the 20th of January after every election - known as Inauguration Day - the new candidate is sworn in as President in a ceremony at the US capital building and formally takes office.