Hour by hour: What to watch on Election Night

Stock up on munchies and make sure the batteries in your TV remote are fresh. With this year’s presidential election razor-close to the finish, Tuesday could be a long night.

WASHINGTON EXAMINER (AP) — Even if the presidency isn’t decided until after midnight EST, there will be plenty of clues early in the evening on how things are going for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Obama has more options for piecing together the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, so any early setbacks for Romney could be important portents of how the night will end.

Here’s a timetable for armchair election watchers on how the night will unfold, based on what time the last polls close in each state. All times are EST.

—7 p.m.: Polls close in six states but all eyes will be on Virginia, the first of the battleground states to begin reporting results. If either candidate is comfortably ahead in Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, that could be a leading indicator of which way the night is going.

Virginia typically has been fairly fast at counting ballots. But there’s a new voter ID law in the state that could complicate things this year. Voters who don’t bring identification to the polls still can have their ballots counted if they produce ID by Friday. If the race in Virginia is super tight, it could come down to those provisional ballots. On Election Night, no one will even know how many of them are out there.

Virginia is especially important for Romney. In 2008, Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Virginia since 1964. Keep an eye on turnout in northern Virginia’s Democratic strongholds for an early idea of which way the state will go. READ THE REST

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