After five agonizing days of counting the votes, the 2020 election is over: Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has won.
It took a while to get here. Here are all the major updates.
- BuzzFeed News, the Associated Press, CNN, and a number of outlets called the election for Biden on Saturday, after the new results from Pennsylvania essentially sealed the deal for him in the state, and pushed him over the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win.
- When the race was called for Biden at 11:25 a.m. ET, Trump was golfing at his resort in Virginia. Minutes later, his campaign claimed "this is election is far from over." Trump no longer has a path to reelection.
- Biden won a historic number of votes in this election. Sen. Kamala Harris, his running mate, will be the first woman to be vice president. "I am honored and humbled," he said in a statement about his victory on Saturday.
Trump refuses to concede — 11:45 a.m. ET
In a statement issued while he was golfing in Virginia, Trump claimed that Biden was "rushing to falsely pose as the winner" because he "has not been certified as the winner of any states" and accused the media of trying to help Biden.
Trump said his campaign will bring their case to court "to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated" on Monday, even though a number of lawsuits his campaign filed over ballot counting in several states have already been tossed out due to a lack of evidence.
Biden has won the Electoral College, as well as the popular vote by a significant margin, and Trump has no path to victory.
Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States — 11:25 a.m. ET, Saturday
Biden has won the 2020 election, after new results from Pennsylvania on Saturday morning showed there was no path for Trump to win the state.
"I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America," Biden said in a statement after the race was called. "With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation."
He also tweeted a video Saturday morning and vowed to be "a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not."
America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.
Biden declared “we’re going to win this race” as he inched closer to victory — 11 p.m. ET
As the nation waited for race calls in key states that are expected to send Joe Biden to the White House, the former vice president said in a late night address that while he has not officially been named the winner of the presidential election, it was only a matter of time.
“We don't have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers ... tell us a clear and convincing story. We’re going to win this race,” Biden said.
In Pennsylvania, just over 82,000 mail-in ballots remained to be counted, according to the secretary of state’s website, including about 31,000 in Allegheny County and almost 21,000 in Philadelphia County, areas where voters have favored Biden. Those numbers did not include provisional ballots, which state House Speaker Bryan Cutler said could top 100,000, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In Nevada, election officials had an estimated 124,500 ballots left to count Friday evening, not including provisional ballots or ballots that needed to be cured, according to the Nevada secretary of state’s office. About 90% of the remaining ballots were in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located and more than 70% of the state’s population lives. Officials in Clark County said they hoped to finish counting the mail-in ballots by Sunday.
Despite continued declines in his margin over Trump in Arizona, Biden was ahead by 29,861 votes with roughly 171,000 ballots left to be counted, including provisional ballots, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Decision Desk HQ data analyst explains its Pennsylvania (and election) call — 10:45 a.m. ET
The election analysis firm Decision Desk HQ determined Joe Biden won the presidential election after it called the state of Pennsylvania for the Democrat on Friday morning, pushing him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes.
Other decision desks and many outlets — including BuzzFeed News — have not yet called Pennsylvania for Biden, even though he is now leading in the count there over President Donald Trump. (BuzzFeed News partners with Decision Desk HQ to use its election data and display its projected results.)
For close and consequential race calls, BuzzFeed News will often wait for a second source and conduct independent reporting and analysis. The Associated Press explained here why it is waiting to call Pennsylvania.
Drew McCoy of DDHQ told BuzzFeed News that his organization made its Pennsylvania call based on the size of the new vote tallies coming in, the margin at which those votes were going to Biden, where those votes were coming from (mostly from Philadelphia and Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located), and how many more votes from those areas still had to be counted.
“So given the fact the vote out there still to be counted is coming from areas and methods that have gone very strongly for Joe Biden, and the fact there were still ballots to be counted in Philadelphia, we were very comfortable making the call,” he said.
McCoy made contrasts between Pennsylvania and Georgia, another battleground state where Biden pulled ahead by a razor-thin margin early on Friday. Georgia has fewer outstanding votes than Pennsylvania, and the margin between Trump and Biden there is much smaller.
“It's not simply a question of ‘a candidate has taken the lead, therefore they’re going to win,’” McCoy said. In Georgia, the narrow margin between the candidates is “probably going to a recount,” he said. Georgia’s secretary of state confirmed shortly after on Friday morning that there will be a recount.
Decision Desk HQ still has not made a call in Arizona, where Fox News and the Associated Press have already projected a win for Biden. With more than 95% of the total vote tallied, the Democratic nominee currently holds a slim lead (47,000 votes) over Trump.
McCoy said Biden’s initial wide lead in Arizona, which narrowed as early ballots that leaned Republican were counted, showed that “the dynamics of the state, the electorate, are a little different.” Decision Desk HQ is waiting for more rounds of votes to be tallied to see how that state will ultimately fall.
But analysts at DDHQ have seen enough in Pennsylvania to make their call, he said. They expect the margin to be close but are confident that it will not fall in the recount range (less than 0.5%). Though DDHQ called Wisconsin for Biden on Wednesday afternoon with the margin between the candidates under 1% — which allows the defeated candidate to request a recount, which the Trump campaign has said it will do — McCoy said that narrow margin was still a difference of about 20,000 votes, and recounts historically have only added or subtracted a few hundred votes for candidates.
McCoy said he does not want to speculate on why other outlets have not called Pennsylvania, but added, “We are extremely confident in this call. We are standing behind it, and [there are] no doubts about the outcome here."
Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight.com, told ABC News he also believes Biden’s lead is very solid in Pennsylvania, citing the strength of mail-in ballots and so-called provisional votes, meaning people who were sent a postal ballot but decided to vote in person. “Those are very Democratic this year because Democrats were scared their votes wouldn’t be counted. Those have not really been included in the count so far, so that will further increase Joe Biden’s lead,” he said. “I think there is not a path back for the president.”
Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania — 8:56 a.m. ET
With more vote tallies coming in from Philadelphia this morning, Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania. There are currently 163,501 mail-in ballots left to be counted, according to the current numbers from the Pennsylvania secretary of state; 58,642 of those are from Philadelphia, and 36,584 from Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh. The rest are from counties with fewer voters.
If Biden wins Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, he will be elected president.
Biden takes the lead in Georgia, a historically red state — 4:20 a.m. ET
America woke up on Friday to the news that the Democratic nominee has pulled ahead in Georgia as absentee ballots from cities like Atlanta and Savannah and their suburbs were tallied.
The margin is razor thin, though, according to Decision Desk HQ; with 1% of ballots left to count, Biden leads by just 1,096 votes.
Read up on what happens if there's a recount in Georgia.
The race for president tightens in key states — 2:30 a.m. ET, Friday
President Donald Trump’s leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania continued to shrink Thursday night as more absentee ballots were counted.
In Georgia, just over 14,000 ballots remained outstanding as of 10:35 p.m. ET, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, leaving Trump with a margin of fewer than 2,000 votes over Joe Biden. In Pennsylvania, roughly 163,500 ballots were left to count, including 58,642 in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia County, according to the secretary of state’s website. Trump was leading Biden by 18,224 votes, according to Decision Desk HQ.
In Arizona, Biden’s lead continued to narrow as election officials in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, released the results of about 70,000 more ballots. It’s the only state where absentee ballots being tabulated since election night have consistently favored Trump (mail-in ballots generally lean Democratic). County officials there still have about 204,000 ballots left to process and count. They planned to release another batch of results Friday morning.
Mark Kelly is elected to the Senate — 10:42 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ calls the highly anticipated special election for Kelly, a Democrat, who is the husband of former Arizona representative Gabby Giffords and a NASA astronaut.
It's the second time Martha McSally lost a Senate race in two years; she first lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, but was appointed to Arizona's other Senate seat after then-senator John McCain died.
Both Georgia Senate races are heading to runoff elections in January — 7:14 p.m. ET
Republican Sen. David Perdue will not reach 50% of the vote in his reelection race against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia, forcing a runoff between two candidates in January, Decision Desk HQ projected on Thursday night.
Both of Georgia’s Senate seats will now be up for grabs in the Jan. 5 election after Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler was forced into her own runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock. It is increasingly likely that whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate next year will hinge on those two races.
The counting continues — 5:58 p.m. ET
By Thursday afternoon, Nevada had at least 63,262 ballots outstanding. Officials said they hope to be done with the bulk of the counting by Saturday or Sunday.
As for Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that as of 5:45 p.m. today there are approximately 36,331 ballots still outstanding.
Later in the afternoon, around 5:15 p.m. ET, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said the state still has to count several hundred thousand mail-in ballots and is expecting to be done counting the overwhelming majority of them on Friday.
According to the state’s website, there are still 326,000 votes to be counted.
Biden urges Americans to "stay calm" while waiting for the final results — 4:41 p.m. ET
In an address Thursday afternoon, Biden urged Americans to “stay calm” as the country waits for the election results.
“The process is working. The count is being completed, and we’ll know very soon,” he said. “In America, the vote is sacred. It’s how people of this nation express their will. It is the will of the voters — no one, not anything else — that chooses the president of the United States of America. So each ballot must be counted.”
He went on to say that democracy "is sometimes messy," and that it requires patience.
Biden said he and Sen. Kamala Harris “continue to feel very good about where things stand” and added that they “have no doubt” that they’ll be named the winners when the count is finished.
The Biden campaign remains confident, urges people to be patient — 11:17 a.m. ET
The Biden campaign continues to project confidence about the election results. On a press call, campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said they are expecting to win Pennsylvania and Nevada once all the votes are counted, though North Carolina remains "tight."
"Our data shows that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States," O'Malley Dillon said, urging patience. "The story today is going to be a very positive story for the vice president. But folks need to stay patient and stay calm. … We’re very confident with whatever happens with the timing and the counting, Joe Biden will win."
Bob Bauer, a Biden campaign adviser, also dismissed the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign as "meritless" and "doomed to fail."
Vote-counting continues — 9:02 a.m. ET, Thursday
We're now in day three of the election, and anxious, sleep-deprived Americans are as eager as ever to find out who won the election.
All eyes are on Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona as vote-counting in these battleground states continues.
Overnight, there were scattered protests and clashes with law enforcement in a few cities, but no major unrest. In Phoenix and Detroit, two cities that could end up determining the outcome of their states' election results, Trump supporters gathered outside ballot-counting centers to protest how votes were being tallied.
Gary Peters wins reelection — 7:30 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has called Michigan's Senate seat for Peters, a Democrat who faced an unexpectedly fierce challenge from Republican John James. Despite Peters' win, it remains unlikely that Democrats will take control of the Senate at this point.
Trump campaign and his supporters challenge vote-counting — 7:19 p.m. ET
The Trump campaign has begun pouring resources into efforts to stop officials from counting legitimate votes, mounting lawsuits in several states to challenge how ballots are being counted. It’s trickled down to his supporters as well; buoyed by the president’s false and misleading claims on social media, Trump supporters stormed a ballot counting center in Michigan on Wednesday to disrupt vote counting, chanting “stop the count” and “stop the vote.”
Michigan goes to Biden — 5:04 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has called Michigan, a state both Trump and Biden campaigned heavily in, for the Democratic nominee. With its additional 16 electoral votes, Biden has a total of 253 electoral votes as of Wednesday afternoon.
Biden again expresses confidence in a win, saying "every vote must be counted" — 4:10 p.m. ET
In his second speech since polls closed last night, Biden remained confident about winning key swing states and said he believes he has a clear path to earning the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
"I'm not here to declare that we've won, but I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners," he said. "Only three presidential campaigns in the past have defeated an incumbent president. When it's finished, god willing, we'll be the fourth."
He also touched on the country's deep partisan divisions, saying, "I'm confident we'll emerge victorious. But this will not be my victory alone or our victory alone. It will be victory for the American people, for our democracy, for America."
Biden is the first presidential candidate in history to receive more than 70 million votes — 3:58 p.m. ET
Biden now has the highest number of popular votes ever received by a candidate running for president, based on Decision Desk HQ and AP's count, smashing President Obama’s record in 2008. He is currently leading the popular vote count against Trump, and with votes still being counted in Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, his tally is expected to increase.
Biden wins Wisconsin — 2:56 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has called Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes, for the Democratic nominee. The state has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and though pundits had speculated that Trump's response to the pandemic would swing the state harder in Biden's favor, the former vice president ended up winning by a razor-thin margin.
However, Wisconsin remains a crucial win for Biden; it's a key state in the "blue wall" of the Midwest that went to Trump in 2016.
Susan Collins wins reelection — 1:14 p.m. ET
Decision Desk calls the Senate race for Collins. The Maine Republican said she had received a "very gracious call from Sara Gideon conceding the race."
Collins faced a tough challenge from Gideon, who raised a whopping $63.6 million since launching her campaign last summer. Liberal groups had vowed to oust Collins from her seat after she voted for Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court.
There are still six Senate seats that are undecided, but Collins’ victory in Maine makes the path for Democrats to take control of the Senate very difficult. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to win the Senate or three to tie, in which case ties would be broken by Sen. Kamala Harris if she wins the vice presidency. The party has a good shot at picking up a seat from Republicans in Arizona, where Democrat Mark Kelly is currently leading Sen. Martha McSally, though Decision Desk HQ has not yet called the race. They’ll also need to hold on to Democratic Sen. Gary Peters’ seat in Michigan; he's currently locked in a very tight race. Then they’d need another two or three wins in some combination of red states: North Carolina, Alaska, and Georgia. Georgia has two Senate seats up for grabs (because of a special election), but one of them has already gone to a runoff, which won’t take place until Jan. 5, 2021. Democrat Raphael Warnock will face Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in that race.
It’s not impossible for Democrats to retake the Senate, but it is looking less and less likely.
Trump campaign calls for Wisconsin recount — 12:50 p.m. ET
State officials say that virtually every vote in Wisconsin has been counted at this point, with Biden in the lead with 20,000 more votes. Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said the campaign will request a recount "immediately."
Wisconsin is a critical state for the president, one that his campaign has signaled it's not going to concede without a fight. Wisconsin also went to a recount in 2016, and it ended with Trump expanding his narrow lead over Hillary Clinton by 131 votes.
This is all way too close to call. It’s going to take some time before we know who won the presidency — 3:47 a.m. ET
Election Day came and went, and the final results are not in. Key battlegrounds states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, are still tallying votes, and it could take days until we know who won those states.
As results trickled in throughout the evening, it became increasingly clear that the election wouldn’t be a landslide win for Biden, like many Democrats had hoped for. Biden was not able to flip key states, including Florida, but is still holding out hope to win Arizona and to rebuild the “blue wall” in the Midwest.
The overall picture is fluid as officials continue to count votes in a set of very close battleground states. State officials in Michigan and Pennsylvania have warned it could be days before all ballots, including in-person voting and mail-in ballots, are counted.
In Georgia, officials continue counting Atlanta-area ballots, which may or may not decide the election there. In Wisconsin, the election looks very close as well.
Trump is lying about the early election results — 3:01 a.m. ET
Trump, in a 2:30 a.m. address during an extremely tight presidential race, falsely spun incomplete election results to make it sound like there was some sort of fraud preventing him from winning reelection. There was absolutely no evidence to back up any of his claims.
Trump lied about early results in key swing states, where scores of mail-in votes have not been counted, and claimed he had already won. He said he did not want those legitimate votes to be counted, and vowed to take his case — which election lawyers have already said has no grounds — to the Supreme Court.
This is Trump’s boldest attempt to undermine the American election system: essentially declaring victory, or claiming a victory was stolen from him, instead of waiting for the actual votes to be counted.
Sen. Steve Daines won reelection in Montana, defeating former governor Steve Bullock — 3:04 a.m. ET
Republican Sen. Steve Daines won reelection in Montana, Decision Desk HQ has projected, defeating former governor Steve Bullock. Bullock, who briefly ran for president this year, had been a top recruitment target for Democrats, who already occupy the state’s other Senate seat despite the state’s red tilt. But Bullock’s popularity as governor was not enough to overcome Daines.
Bullock’s loss is another blow to Democrats who hope to regain control of the Senate, but his loss doesn’t shut down their opportunities to do so. Democrats will need a net gain of three Senate seats if they win the White House, and four if they don’t, in order to take control of the Senate. So far, they have not overturned a Republican seat, but there are still six Senate races in which they hope to do so. There is also a race in Michigan where Republicans have a shot at overturning a blue seat, currently held by Democratic Sen. Gary Peters.
New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota legalize weed — 2:57 a.m. ET
In news that sent group chats ablaze (sorry) tonight, residents in New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational cannabis. The new measure in Arizona also allows people to petition the courts to have their past cannabis convictions expunged.
New Jersey’s measure will likely push forward the timeline for neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania to do the same.
Over in Washington, DC, residents voted to decriminalize the use of psychedelic substances, including magic mushrooms.
Biden wins Minnesota — 1:52 a.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has called the battleground state, with its 10 electoral votes, for Biden.
Trump takes Montana — 1:41 a.m. ET
The state has 3 electoral votes.
Biden wins Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District; the last polls have closed — 1:05 a.m. ET
Though Trump won the state of Nebraska, Biden nabbed 1 of its electoral votes after winning a congressional district. Because this election is already looking extremely tight, this single electoral vote could significantly increase Biden's chances of reaching 270 electoral votes.
The last polls in Alaska have closed.
Joni Ernst wins reelection — 12:45 a.m. ET
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst won reelection in Iowa on Tuesday night, defeating Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Decision Desk HQ called the race as Ernst led by about 6 points, in a highly contested election.
Ernst’s victory makes it that much tougher, but not impossible for Democrats to win control of the Senate. The party still needs at least three Senate seats and a White House victory (or four Senate seats if President Donald Trump is reelected) to take the Senate. They currently have zero net gains with seven races outstanding where the party has been competitive. One of those races, one of two Senate elections in Georgia tonight, is already heading for a runoff election on Jan. 5 between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.
There is also one Democratic seat, that of Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan, where Republicans have a chance of making gains.
Trump claims "we are up big" — 12:44 a.m. ET
In his first tweet since the polls closed on Election Day, Trump claims "they are trying to STEAL the Election," and reminded supporters that "Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed." He quickly deleted his tweet and posted another without the typo, and Twitter immediately flagged it as potentially misleading.
Biden addresses his supporters in Delaware — 12:42 a.m. ET
"It ain't over 'til every vote is counted." Joe Biden thanks supporters for their patience in the early hours of Wednesday morning, saying the Democratic campaign believes it's "on track to win this election."
As the results trickled in, Biden took the stage in his home state of Delaware, expressing confidence in key battleground states that may well end up deciding the election: Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
"I'm here to tell you tonight we believe we're on track to win this election," he said in his brief speech. "We knew because of the unprecedented early vote and the mail-in vote that it's going to take a while. We're going to have to be patient...but we're feeling good about where we are."
Trump wins Florida — 12:36 a.m. ET
Florida is a big win for Trump. He adds another 29 electoral votes from the battleground state to his tally, and he now has a clearer path to reelection.
Trump wins Iowa — 12:25 a.m. ET
Iowa, which was considered a swing state in this election, has 6 electoral votes.
Kanye West, who had no path to victory whatsoever, concedes — 12:12 a.m. ET
"WELP," the rapper tweeted, along with an image of his silhouette against a partial map of the US. "KANYE 2024."
More states are called — 12:04 a.m. ET, Wednesday
Trump nabs 4 electoral votes from Idaho and 18 from Ohio.
Biden picks up 4 electoral votes from Rhode Island.
Biden wins an electoral vote from one Maine district — 11:49 p.m. ET
Whoever wins Maine gets 2 of its 4 electoral votes, and two of the state's congressional districts get to decide respectively who the other 2 electoral votes go to. Biden has won Maine's 1st Congressional District thus far, and he picks up 1 electoral vote there.
Mississippi votes for a new flag and an incumbent senator — 11:26 p.m. ET
This will be the new state flag of Mississippi. Voters overwhelmingly approved it. This is a great day for the state as we move forward from a divisive emblem that now rests in the past.
Residents in Mississippi voted for a new flag featuring a magnolia after the state ditched its controversial former flag, which had a prominent Confederate symbol, over the summer.
Voters also reelected Republican incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to the US Senate tonight, choosing her over Democrat Mike Espy.
Biden sweeps four states in the west — 11:10 p.m. ET
He adds another 5 electoral votes from New Mexico, 7 from Oregon, 12 from Washington state, and 55 from California to his count.
New Hampshire and Connecticut go to Biden; polls in 48 states have closed — 11 p.m. ET
Biden is victorious in the state that lives free or dies (4 electoral votes), and Connecticut (7), according to Decision Desk HQ.
Polls across the country are now closed — except in Alaska and Hawaii. The last poll closes in Alaska at 1 a.m. ET.
Trump wins Utah — 10:35 p.m. ET
Adding another 6 electoral votes to his tally.
Georgia's Senate race heads to a runoff — 10:34 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has determined that no candidate will pass the necessary 50% threshold needed to win the race tonight, which means Democrat Raphael Warnock and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler will face off in the runoff election on Jan. 5. The other challenger, Republican Rep. Doug Collins, conceded tonight.
The runoff election means we might not know which party controls the US Senate until next year.
Alabama Democrat Doug Jones loses his Senate seat — 10:17 p.m. ET
Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost his Alabama seat on Tuesday night, Decision Desk HQ has projected, resetting the war for control of the Senate back to even. Jones lost to Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach who ran as an ally of President Donald Trump. Tuberville beat Trump’s own former attorney general Jeff Sessions in a primary earlier this year.
Alabama was always a difficult state for Democrats to hold onto. Jones won the seat in a 2017 special election after Sessions became attorney general, in part because his Republican opponent was former judge Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation. Moore ran again this year but lost to Tuberville.
Jones’ loss is a blow to Democrats who had picked up a Senate seat earlier the evening in Colorado where former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. The party needs a net of four seats to win control of the Senate, but with Jones’ loss, they are now back to zero.
John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham are reelected after tough races — 10:06 p.m. ET
Cornyn, a Texas Republican, defeated Democratic challenger MJ Hegar to win his 4th term in the Senate.
Graham, meanwhile, fought off his Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison — who raised more money than any Senate candidate in history — to keep his Senate seat. The South Carolina Republican is one of Trump's most fervent allies.
Landmark firsts in Congress — 9:56 p.m. ET
It's a history-making night in US politics. After McBride's historic win in Delaware, Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones became the first openly gay Black men to be elected to Congress from New York.
Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old Republican from North Carolina, will become the youngest member of Congress after winning his race to fill the seat left open by Mark Meadows, who left the House to become Trump's chief of staff. Cawthorn has had to deny accusations that he's racist in recent months, after his connections to the far right came under scrutiny.
Democrat Cori Bush, an activist from Ferguson who protested the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014, became the first woman of color elected to Congress from Missouri.
And for the first time in the state's history, Wyoming elected a woman to the US Senate: Republican Cynthia Lummis.
Ilhan Omar wins reelection — 9:44 p.m. ET
The US representative from Minnesota handily beat her Republican opponent Lacy Johnson, according to the Associated Press.
Trump wins South Carolina — 9:38 p.m. ET
The president adds 9 more electoral votes to his count.
John Hickenlooper is elected to the Senate — 9:29 p.m. ET
Democrats have picked up their first Senate seat of the night, after Decision Desk HQ called the Colorado Senate race for former Gov. John Hickenlooper. The Democrat defeated Sen. Cory Gardner, widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection this year. Hickenlooper briefly ran for president this year before announcing his campaign for the Senate seat. He was a popular governor as well as mayor of Denver. Gardner, who also served in the House for six years, will finish his first term in the Senate in January.
Democrats need to net four Senate seats in order to take control of the chamber outright. If former vice president Joe Biden wins the White House, Democrats will only need three Senate seats, since vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris would be able to break a tie.
Results from eight more states roll in — 9:14 p.m. ET
Trump wins Mississipi (6 electoral votes), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Wyoming (3), Louisiana (8), and Nebraska (4).
Biden wins New York (29 electoral votes) and Colorado (9).
Trump wins Arkansas, Biden wins New Jersey— 8:55 p.m. ET
Trump picks up 6 more electoral votes from Arkansas, and Biden collects 14 electoral votes from New Jersey.
Polls in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming will close at 9 p.m. ET.
Delaware elects the nation's first openly trans state senator — 8:30 p.m. ET
Sarah McBride, who was expected to win the race, will become the highest-ranking transgender legislator in the country. The 30-year-old was elected to the General Assembly after defeating her Republican opponent, Steve Washington.
"I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too," she said in a statement.
Mitch McConnell wins reelection — 8:25 p.m. ET
The Senate majority leader, a crucial ally to President Trump, defeated Democrat Amy McGrath to win his seventh term in Kentucky.
Biden takes Delaware, his home state — 8:20 p.m. ET
The former vice president has won Delaware, where he began Election Day visiting his late son Beau Biden's grave with his family. Delaware has 3 electoral votes.
Decision Desk HQ also called Maryland (10 electoral votes) and Washington, DC (3) for Biden.
Decision Desk HQ calls several more states — 8:18 p.m. ET
Trump wins Indiana (11 electoral votes), Alabama (9), Oklahoma (7), Missouri (10), and Tennessee (11).
Biden wins Illinois (20 electoral votes) and Massachusetts (11).
More polls close — 8 p.m. ET
Polls in a number of battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio, have closed. Don’t hold your breath, though — it will likely take hours, or days, or even weeks for us to find out the results in some of these states.
Trump takes West Virginia and Kentucky, Biden takes Virginia — 7:44 p.m. ET
Decision Desk HQ has called these three states. Trump sweeps five electoral votes from West Virginia and eight from Kentucky. Biden adds Virginia's 13 electoral votes to his count.
Biden takes Vermont — 7:20 p.m. ET
Democratic nominee Joe Biden has won Vermont and its three electoral votes, according to Decision Desk HQ.
A QAnon supporter is elected to Congress — 7:06 p.m.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of the collective delusion that claims Trump is fighting a satanic cabal of elites who abuse children, has been elected to represent Georgia in the House of Representatives. She has gained support and legitimacy from Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who campaigned with her last month, and Trump, who has called her a "future Republican Star."
Greene faced no challenger. Her Democratic opponent had quit the race in September.
Polls have started to close — 7:03 p.m. ET
The first polls closed in Indiana and Kentucky at 6 p.m. ET, and election results will slowly trickle in as polls across the country close throughout the night and the vote-counting commences.
Despite everyone's worst expectations, Election Day has been running relatively smoothly, with few disruptions at the polls — so far, at least. Voting is far from over, and people who are in line when polls close can still cast their ballot.
But there have been issues. Voters in battleground states have reported receiving robocalls discouraging them from voting, and false information about voting in Pennsylvania has been spreading like wildfire on the internet.
The really hard part begins now that polls are starting to close and vote counting begins. President Trump, who has consistently lagged behind former vice president Joe Biden in polls, has for months laid the groundwork to challenge the election results. And if Biden wins, but not decisively, Trump could very take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court, as he has signaled he would do.
For now, there's no way of knowing if we'll find out who won the election tomorrow, or Friday, or even next week. But there's one silver lining, no matter the result: More than 100 million people already voted before Election Day, and this presidential election is on track to hit a record high turnout in more than a century. It's a stunning feat for a country besieged by a deadly pandemic, and infamous for its hourslong lines at the polls.
How we got here
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a giant spike in early and mail-in voting. More than 95 million Americans cast their votes before Tuesday.
The record number of mail-in votes will likely delay vote-counting in several states. It’s possible that the winner might not be determined on election night. In-person votes on Election Day tend to skew Republican while absentee ballots usually favor Democrats. So, states that count absentee ballots late may give the impression that Trump is winning, only for Biden to overtake him as more votes are counted.
This is not unusual, but Trump is using this as a way to sow distrust and confusion and undermine the process.
The president has spent the last few weeks of the campaign trying to suppress the vote and casting doubt on the validity of mail-in voting — which he has used for years — suggested that it’s illegal for a winner not to be declared on election night. He has also said there would be “bedlam” if a winner was not called tonight.
Let’s be clear: Despite what the president says, there is nothing illegal or fraudulent about a winner not being called tonight. We at BuzzFeed News have partnered with the analysts at Decision Desk to help determine who won what state. Sometimes, based on how many votes have been counted, those calls can be made quickly. Sometimes, like in tight races, you need to wait as state officials count.
The first polls closed at 6 p.m. ET in parts of Indiana and Kentucky, and the last polls will close at 1 a.m. ET in Alaska.