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When Will We Know the Winner? Key Toss-ups to Watch

While Americans exercise their right to vote, you can get prepared for the results. Sadly, we won't have Tim Russert to walk us through it all this year. Barack Obama supporters can start feeling relieved if their candidate wins either Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, or Florida. Conversely, a magic combination of wins for John McCain could include Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Here are the states you should keep an eye on:

  • Indiana: The nation's first polls begin to close in typically red Indiana at 6 p.m. EST. If Obama wins the 11 electoral votes, things won't look good for McCain.
  • Virginia: McCain's most practical path to the White House includes Virginia and its 13 votes. Polls close at 7 p.m. EST.
  • Georgia: Things are close here, but we'll know who gets the 15 electoral votes sometime after polls close at 7 p.m. EST.
  • Florida: The notorious swing state might not be as essential as past years, but with 27 electoral votes it's a crucial prize.
  • Ohio: Polls close there at 7:30 p.m. EST. It should be a close battle, as usual, for the state's 20 votes!

For more states that could decide the race,


  • North Carolina: Officials have the option to keep the polls open until 8:30 p.m EST. The state hasn't gone blue since Jimmy Carter won it. There are 15 votes up for grabs.
  • Pennsylvania: Obama has had a lead here for a while, but McCain has campaigned hard. If McCain wins the 21 votes, and we'll know sometime after the polls close at 8 p.m. EST, he probably still has a good shot.
  • Missouri: Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. With Missouri's 11 votes, so goes the winner of the election, usually.
  • Colorado: Polls close at 9 p.m. EST. Colorado's nine votes seem to be leaning toward Obama, who made a big play for the previously red state.
  • Nevada: We'll have to wait until at least 10 p.m. EST to find out where the five votes go.


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