The first polls for the United States elections closed at 6:00 PM ET in parts of Kentucky and Indiana. The last in-person vote won't be cast until 1:00 AM ET in Alaska. So when will we have a good sense of whether or not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States?

Opportunities to call the race

The first legitimate opportunity to call the race will occur shortly after 8:00 PM ET. By that point, at least half of the available electoral votes will have been secured, meaning a candidate could reach the 270 vote threshold. This situation is obviously very unlikely, though.

In fact, the early results are already showing that neither candidate for president is going to sweep the country, which was never really in doubt in the first place. Trump is projected to win both Kentucky and Indiana right now (good for 19 electoral votes), while Clinton is projected to win Vermont (3 electoral votes).

By around 10:00 PM ET, most of the electoral votes will be in across the country, inching the nation closer to a decision. Some states that are less competitive can determine their winner within minutes of the polls closing, while swing states will probably need at least 45 minutes to start having a good grip on the winner, meaning there likely won't be a winner until at least 10:45 PM ET, at the earliest.

The only two states where a president-elect doesn't automatically garner every electoral vote by virtue of winning the state are Nebraska and Maine.

The wild card

All of this is assuming that by the end of the night, one of the two people running for president (who are both planning parties in New York City) chooses to concede the race based on poll numbers.

Many project the candidate who will need a concession speech ready is Donald Trump, but he's already expressed a trepidation about writing such a speech -- he already filed a lawsuit about results in swing state Nevada today, and has not guaranteed he will accept the results by the end of Election Day.

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