U.S. midterm elections: How long it takes to know winners

U.S. Midterm Election

The U.S. midterm elections officially starts on November 8, and you may be wondering, how long would it take to know if your favourite contestant won, so keep reading to get your questions answered.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are 35 Senate seats and 36 governorships.

In order to take control of the House and the Senate, Republicans would only need to gain five seats and one seat, respectively. Republicans have a very good chance of obtaining a House majority, according to nonpartisan election forecasters and polls, and the outcome may be known by Tuesday night. However, the race for control of the Senate is expected to be more closely contested and take longer to resolve.

Even hours after the votes close, there might be victory announcements due to a strong wave of Republican support.

However, analysts say there’s a real potential that America will go to bed on election night without knowing the results because dozens of contests are anticipated to be close and important states like Pennsylvania have already issued warnings that it might take days to count every ballot.

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“When it comes to knowing the results, we should move away from talking about Election Day and think instead about election week,” said Nathan Gonzales, who publishes the nonpartisan newsletter Inside Elections.


How quickly states count mail-in votes will skew the earliest vote will count.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, thus states that allow officials to start counting mail ballots early may declare significant Democratic leads that shrink when vote counts go through mountains of Republican-leaning ballots that were cast on election day.

Election officials are allowed to retrieve mail ballots from their envelopes before Election Day and load them into vote counting machines in these “blue mirage” states, which include Florida and North Carolina. This facilitates quick counting.


On the East Coast, the initial round of vote tallies is anticipated between 7 and 8 p.m. ET (0000-0100 GMT Wednesday, Nov. 9). If contests that were predicted to be tight, such as Virginia’s 7th congressional district or a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina, turn out to be Democratic routs, it might be a sign of Republican victory early on.

According to Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Republicans may have enough momentum by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, when Midwest polls will be closed for an hour or longer, to project control of the House.

The determination of who will control the House may not be made for days, according to analysts, if the race for the chamber still appears to be close when vote tallies begin to pour in from the West Coast, where there could be more than a dozen close House races.

California usually takes weeks to complete the entire voting process, in part because the state counts ballots that were postmarked on Election Day even if they arrive days later. In order to delay the announcement of the final results, Nevada and Washington also permit late votes if they are postmarked by November 8.

Kondik said, “If the House is really on the edge, that would matter”.

The outcome of close races in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia is likely to decide final control; it may take longer, maybe weeks longer.

A run-off election would be scheduled on Dec. 6 if Georgia’s Senate race is as close as anticipated and no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote. This might imply that until then, it would be uncertain who will have the majority in the chamber.

On January 3, 2023, the next Congress is scheduled to take office.