WASHINGTON — Grab some toothpicks to prop open your eyelids because Election Day promises to be a marathon.
Polls open before dawn on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and it will be Wednesday on the East Coast before the last votes are cast.
It will be strictly a spectator sport for the estimated 46 million people who are likely to vote in advance. People in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have no choice but to vote by mail.
The presidential nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, are expected to vote the old-fashioned way, trooping to their polling places in New York and undoubtedly trailed by cameras.
Their running mates, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Mike Pence of Indiana, are likely to vote at home, later heading for New York to team up with their principals after spending much of the last three months promoting their respective tickets on their own.
It’s a curtain-closer on one doozy of a presidential election and on House and Senate races that will determine which party controls Congress for the next two years.
A look at how Election Day unfolds, using Eastern time:
Be warned: It can take a while for the presidential picture to clarify. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney was still ahead in the electoral and popular vote at 10:30 p.m.; an hour later, President Barack Obama was on the brink of re-election.