The big day is finally here: the 2020 US election. Here’s all the details about how to watch coverage in Australia, when polls close Australian time, and when Australians can expect to know whether the Republican Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden will be the next president.
When is the US election, Australian time?
Technically, it started weeks ago! Early and absentee voting has been going on for weeks in most states.
But the official date and time for for the United States’ 2020 polling day is November 3. And that means voting has just started, Australian time, and will continue into our Thursday, November 4.
When will we start to see election results?
The first states will close at 10AM ADST (NSW, ACT, Tasmania, Victoria), 9.30AM ACDT (Adelaide), 9AM AEST (Queensland), 8AM ACST (NT) and 7AM AWST (WA).
Soon after that, some states will begin to start reporting polling results, which will be reported by the media. All the important states close by 2PM ADST.
The timing of the counts vary state-by-state and is affected by a number of factors, including how many early votes they have and whether they allow workers to count postal votes made before the day.
Generally speaking, the results of some states will be projected by news media organisations tomorrow, Australian time, whereas others will take days (or potentially weeks if things are close).
When will I know who is elected president and the rest of the election results?
It depends! It could be all over tomorrow afternoon, Australian time, or it may take weeks. Here’s why:
News organisations are responsible for projecting who will become president, and each of them has different systems that they use to make a judgement. The actual election results are announced a while later, but we almost always know the outcome long before then.
In most cases, media outlets will wait until they’ve projected that one candidate has won a certain number of states, specifically, states worth at least 270 electoral college votes, half the nation’s total possible votes.
They’ll use polling data that comes in to make a call. As mentioned before, some states will report quickly, some not so much. And some states are worth more than others. And we also know that the winner of a certain subsection of states — the so-called ‘battleground states’ — will win the election, as the rest are expected to be comfortably Democratic or Republican.
According to ABC News’ Matthew Bevan, Joe Biden could be announced winner by mid-afternoon ADST if he wins Florida, where polls close at midday. Whereas if the election is close and it comes down to Pennsylvania, it could take “days. Maybe weeks.”
So, hold on to your hat: this could take a while if it’s a close one. Also, pay no attention if one certain candidate declares victory.
Where can I watch coverage of the US election results?
Australia’s major television stations will be running rolling coverage of the US election throughout the day from when polls start closing. You can also stream most of them online.
- ABC: You can watch coverage broadcast on ABC NEWS channel streamed on the ABC iView website or the app from 10AM.
- SBS: It will be on SBS On Demand, or via the SBS News website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, from 11AM.
Additionally, US television stations are expected to livestream their coverage on YouTube. Here’s a few of their livestreams:
And, should you want to watch the results in person, the Guardian Australia has assembled a list of places where you can commiserate or celebrate with others.
Who’s going to win the US presidential election?
We won’t know for sure who will win. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut we can make some educated guesses.
Right now, 538’s election forecast gives Joe Biden a 89% chance of winning the election; and the Democrats a 74% chance of winning the Senate, and a 97% chance of winning the House.
Does this mean Biden and the Democrats have it in the bag? No way! Events with a 1/10 chance of happening happen all the time. Polling data could be off. Voter suppression have affect the votes. People might just decide not to turn out.
It may be a little while until we know for sure. Hold on to your hats.