It’s been dubbed the most important US presidential election in recent history – one everyone in the world, including Australians, will be watching with great anticipation.
Held amid a historic pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Americans, and the most widespread civil rights protests in US history, this is an election that will define the course America takes.
What will a Biden victory – who has vowed to take action on climate change – mean for Australia’s climate policy?
What will a Trump victory mean for far right extremism, which has become a growing threat in Australia since his last election victory?
How will either of them handle increasingly tense relations with our biggest trading partner, China, which has already placed Australian industries – such as barley and wine – in the crosshairs?
A lot is at stake, not just for the US, but indeed for Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, and the entire world.
Election day is Tuesday 3 November but for the Australians watching, most of the action will be taking place on Wednesday 4 November.
So if you’re staying home or venturing out to a party, how and where can you watch the US election results live in Australia?
Who will be televising it?
Just like with past elections, Australian television stations will be holding special election day coverage. ABC TV, SBS, channels Seven, Nine and Ten will all be covering the election.
The coverage begins at roughly 11am across the board, with ABC and Channel Seven starting earlier at 10am, and most going on until around 5.00pm.
On cable, you’ll be able to watch rolling election coverage on BBC, CNN, Sky News, Fox News, and Al Jazeera English.
Can I follow live results and commentary online?
Of course there will be extensive coverage online.
Major news broadcasters in the US such as NBC, ABC and CBS are expected to livestream their election coverage on YouTube, as they did in 2016.
Traditional news publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, and digital platforms like Vice and Huffington Post, also held livestreams for election coverage in 2016.
You’ll also be able to read live blogs at most major news platforms. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News and Fox News will all be running a live blog on the night.
Where are watch parties being held in my city?
Gilbert St Hotel, 88 Gilbert St, Adelaide.
UniBar, Union House, Ground The University of Adelaide, Adelaide.
Pig & Whistle, Riverside Centre 123 Eagle St, Brisbane City.
PJ O’Reilly’s, 52 Alinga St, Canberra.
The Well, University of Canberra, 20 Telita St, Bruce.
Online watch party only.
The Windsor Hotel, 112 Mill Point Rd, South Perth.
3 Wise Monkeys, 555 George St, Sydney.
Cheers Sports Bar, 561 George Street, Sydney.
CPAC, Doltone House, Darling Island, Pyrmont.
There’s a relative dearth of election viewing parties this year, mostly due to the ongoing pandemic.
Nonetheless, there are a couple of events being held across the country.
Democrats Abroad, an official arm of the Democratic party, has organised watch parties across the country. In Brisbane, they’ll be at Pig & Whistle, in Sydney they’re at 3 Wise Monkeys, and in Canberra they’ll be at PJ O’Reilly’s. They’ll also be hosting parties in Adelaide and Perth, but unfortunately for Melburnians, they’ll be hosting an online watch party.
A group of American expats in Sydney have also organised a bi-partisan watch party at Cheers bar, with the group encouraging people to “chuck a sickie” to join them.
Also in Adelaide, an election watch party is being hosted at the Gilbert St Hotel, with attendees encouraged to join up and cry “tears of joy or fear”.
Finally, CPAC, Australia’s largest conservative conference, will be doubling up as a de facto election watch party. The initial allocation of tickets has been exhausted, although the conference is advertising a “standby” ticket if restrictions ease next week.
What time will polls close in the US?
Poll opening and closing times varies state-to-state, but they all open between 6am and 9am, and close between 7pm and 9pm local time.
For Australians, that roughly translates to polls opening at 9pm AEST on 3 November and the latest poll, that being in Alaska, closing at 3pm AEST on 4 November.
What are the key states to keep an eye on?
Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and Iowa are the states you’ll need to keep an eye on, with a majority of them having flipped from supporting Obama to Trump in 2016.
When will the victor be announced?
Over 70 million Americans have already voted, more than half of the people who voted in 2016, with experts expecting a historic turnout.
Counting begins on election day, which means that throughout the day, winners will be declared in each state once a candidate has a clear lead there, and results are usually declared on election day, by 10pm ET in the US.
That means a winner would normally be declared between 1pm and 3pm on Wednesday. However, with so many people voting by mail, the result could potentially still be up in the air by the end of the day.
The numbers of people voting by mail is unprecedented, and coupled with the challenges of holding an election during a pandemic, it could be anyone’s guess when we’ll formally get a victor.