10 Storylines to Watch on Election Day
WASHINGTON, Ky. (ABC NEWS) – It’s a big day for America.
The long-awaited election of 2016 is finally here, and it could be a historic one for a number of different reasons. The United States could elect its first female president; Republicans could take back the White House after two terms of Democratic control; there could be record voter turnout and the leading campaign election night parties will both be in New York.
Here are 10 of the biggest storylines to watch as the results come in.
1. Who Will Win This Tumultuous Race
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been slugging it out for months since they became their respective parties’ nominees this summer, but the presidential race has been going on for well over a year.
The contest between Clinton and Trump has been widely perceived as one of the most negative and turbulent in recent memory.
While Clinton had a double-digit lead at one point last month, that lead shrank and some had Trump edging in front roughly a week out from Election Day.
2. What’s the Margin of Victory
Because of the contentious nature of the presidential race, supporters on either side are hoping that their candidate wins by a large enough margin to declare their victory a mandate for the next four years.
Given the close nature of the national polls going into Election Day, the chances for a blowout are slimmer than they might have been at different points in the race, but die-hards can still dream.
3. Is There Any Vote Rigging Reported
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the election process is “rigged” and urged supporters to monitor activity at polling places themselves to ensure that there is no voter fraud at work.
Several federal courts issued orders to both campaigns saying that they could not tell supporters to take any such steps on Election Day, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from stoking the fires and pre-emptively raising questions about the veracity of the election results.
4. Will The Winner and Loser Accept Their Fate
Along those lines, Trump has suggested that he may not accept the initial election results if they are not what he wants.
During the third debate, when asked if he would accept the results, he said he “will look at it at the time.” At a rally in Ohio the following day, he said “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.”
By contrast, Clinton said that she would accept the results of the election.
5. How Did Third Party Candidates Fare
National polls had Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein polling in the very low single digits in the final days leading up to Election Day, and while they may not have much of an impact as a result, there was another way that third party candidates could make history this time around.
Evan McMullin, a conservative anti-Trump independent, will only appear on the ballot in 11 states, but has seen a swell of support in Utah. The state’s large Mormon population — which is usually a Republican stronghold — has been reluctant to back Trump. If he wins the state, he would become the first third party candidate to win electoral votes since 1964.
6. How Telling was Early Voting
As of early Monday evening, over 43 million people had cast their ballots in this election, according to Associated Press data.
That figure, which does not include ballots cast Monday evening, represents 93.5 percent of 2012 early voting vote.
Early voting numbers from 2012 have been surpassed in the swing states of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Nevada.
One of the most staggering statistics comes from Florida, where more people voted early in Florida this year than cast ballots in the 2000 election total.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was optimistic about early voting numbers in some key swing states.
“We saw just eye popping turnout in Florida over the last two days, particularly in our strongholds of southern Florida, North Carolina and elsewhere so we’re very encouraged, very positive.”
7. Which Demographic Groups Had an Impact
Political experts were reading the tea leaves left in early voting states and checking certain demographic turnout trends for an indication of how things will go today.
Only a handful of early voting states publicly release their voter demographic information ahead of Election Day, so the information pool was far from complete, though total numbers will become available after the election.
Hispanic turnout in Florida throughout early voting was reportedly hitting a record high, and though the state’s African American turnout was smaller, it was still higher than 2012 levels.
The early voting numbers also make it difficult to compare voter turnout differentials based on gender as compared to 2012, but the inclusion of the first female presidential nominee of a major party – as well as Trump’s various misogynistic comments throughout the campaign – are expected to have an impact among women voters.
8. Who Takes Control of the Senate
While the race for the White House has gained the most attention, there are 34 Senate seats that need to be filled, which could stand to change the majority.
Right now, the Republicans hold the Senate majority, but they are playing defense on 24 of the seats that are up for election or re-election, compared to the 10 seats that the Democrats are trying to hold on to.
If Clinton wins the White House and brings Sen. Tim Kaine along with her, Democrats need to net only four seats to retake control of that chamber. Right now they have several paths to that number.
There is less mystery surrounding the control of the House of Representatives, even though every seat is up for grabs given their two-year terms.
9. All Eyes on New York City
Tonight’s election is historic for a number of reasons, including the fact that both leading presidential candidates will be celebrating – or commiserating – in the same city.
Since Trump is a lifelong New Yorker and Clinton has called the state home since she left the White House the first time and became the state’s Senator in 2000, it comes as little shock that they both want to be close to home on election night.
Clinton is set to host her party at the Javits Center, a largely glass convention center by the Hudson River which may make for a symbolic setting if she breaks through the proverbial presidential glass ceiling. Trump is holding his event at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, meaning that the two gatherings will be about 20 blocks away from one another.
New York Police Department officials held a news conference saying that they will have more than 5,000 officers on duty during the day and night, which is more than double the number of police on hand than they have had for any previous Election Day.
10. What Ballot Issues Could Be Turned Into Law
In seven states, voters will be asked to vote on specific policy initiatives, and there’s some overlap in what they’re asking.
Five states are voting on marijuana legalization, while four weigh in on gun control, and four vote on increasing the state minimum wage.
Only one state — Colorado — is voting on whether assisted suicide should be legalized.
ABC News’ Alana Abramson and John Kruzel contributed to this report.