Explainer: How Long Will it Take to Know Who Won in Midterm Elections?

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The U.S. midterm elections take place Tuesday, November 8. But when will the results of who won the election be finalized

Experts warn that it may be a long night, or even days, of waiting before the results are clear. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, as well as 35 Senate seats and 36 governorships.

The elections will determine whether the Democrats keep control of Congress, or whether the Republicans will take it. 

Republicans would need to pick up five seats to take a majority in the House and just one to control the Senate. It has been widely expected that the Republicans will win the majority of the House, But control of the Senate is expected to be a close, tough battle.

Dozens of races are expected to be close. Key states like Pennsylvania are already warning it could take days to count every ballot. 

Experts say there’s a good chance America goes to bed on election night without knowing who won. 

The first votes to be tallied will be mail-in ballots. In some states, election officials are allowed to remove mail ballots from their envelopes before Election Day and load them in vote counting machines, allowing for speedy counting.

But some states, like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, will not allow officials to start tallying the votes until Election Day. 

The first wave of vote tallies is expected on the East Coast between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. eastern time. By around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, polls in the Midwest will be closed for an hour or more and will allow for organizations to begin to project control of the House. 

If the fight for the House still looks close as vote tallies start coming in from the West Coast – where there could be more than a dozen tight House races – it could be days before control of the chamber is known, experts said.

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