Results from Tuesday’s elections are some of the most hotly anticipated of the midterm season, with two battleground states among the five hosting major primary contests, a spate of Trump-backed election deniers seeking their party’s nominations and the first post-Roe vote on abortion happening in Kansas.
So pour a cup of coffee if you need to — this could go late.
In Arizona and Washington State, the first results won’t be reported until at least 11 p.m. Eastern time (8 p.m. in those states). Both have contests worth staying up for: Former President Donald J. Trump has endorsed several election deniers seeking top offices in Arizona, and in Washington, he has backed Republicans running to unseat two House members, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, who voted in favor of his impeachment.
Much of Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, putting it three hours behind East Coast clocks. An Arizona law intended to prevent voters still in line at polling places when they close from being influenced by early results will push the release of vote totals back even further. Legally, the first batch of unofficial results cannot be published until an hour after the last polls close at 10 p.m. Eastern time. (The polls on the Navajo reservation, which does observe Daylight Saving Time, will close an hour earlier, at 9 p.m. Eastern.)
But Arizona does let officials start tabulating results before Election Day for ballots that were cast during early voting. Since a majority of Arizona voters vote by mail, a significant portion of the vote may be available when that first batch of results is released.
Maricopa County, which encompasses the city of Phoenix and is home to more than 60 percent of Arizona residents, will be crucial to the timing of results. All ballots cast in person there should be counted by 4 a.m. Eastern time (1 a.m. local time), Scott Jarrett, the county’s director of elections, said during an open meeting with Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission last week.
Mr. Jarrett told the commission that he thought in-person voting would increase substantially from 2020, when fear of Covid-19 led many to vote by mail. County officials do not expect that increase to cause tabulation delays.
Washington will also release its first round of results shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time (8 p.m. Pacific time), which is the deadline for voters to return their ballots to drop boxes — and when polls close for in-person voting, though nearly all voters in Washington vote by mail unless they need assistance.
According to Stephen Ohlemacher, the election decision editor for The Associated Press, Washington has published about 70 percent of the total vote within hours of polls closing in previous elections. Washington counts ballots that are postmarked before or on Election Day, which means results will continue to be tallied in the days after the primary as mail ballots are received. In a close contest, that could delay a race call.
Polls in Missouri, where the scandal-plagued former governor, Eric Greitens, is seeking a political comeback in a closely watched Senate race, close at 8 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. in Missouri). Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he expected the outcome of that race to become clear by 1 a.m. Eastern time.
Voting ends in most Michigan and Kansas counties at 8 p.m. Eastern time as well. In Michigan, Mr. Trump has endorsed against another House member, Peter Meijer, who voted for impeachment. Michigan voters will also weigh in on other competitive House primaries, as well as a chaotic Republican contest for governor.
Preliminary results in those states should be available shortly after polls close. As in Arizona, Kansas can start processing and counting early ballots before the election, allowing it to release a large tranche of votes soon after voting ends.
Missouri can likewise begin tabulating early votes ahead of time, but the secretary of state’s office will not publish any results until all voters have cast their ballots. If there are long lines when polls close, that could push back the release of vote totals.
Michigan law dictates that neither counting nor processing can begin until 7 a.m. on Election Day.