So the big day is here. In hours, we hope to know the outcome of the presidential race, along with dozens of others contests, near and far.
In the meantime, what do you need to know to participate, monitor or celebrate/berate the election?
Below are some questions and answers for Election Day.
What’s the deadline for voting?
Ballots must be postmarked Tuesday or put in a drop box by 8 p.m. The Lacey and Olympia post offices will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday to ensure ballots are postmarked in time. But if you’re going to mail your ballot, don’t forget to attach a first-class stamp. No stamps are required if you use a drop box.
Is the Olympian’s voter guide still available online?
Yes. You can find it at c3.thevoterguide.org/v/olympian16/build.do, or through the homepage of our website. And don’t worry if you’re not a subscriber. Because election coverage is vital to a free democracy, we’re allowing free access to our website this week.
Where are the drop boxes and voting centers?
There’s a list on Page 4A.
What if my ballot is “spoiled” — like from a spill or if I mark for the wrong candidate? Where do you go for a replacement? Can I get one Tuesday?
Yes. But replacement ballots will be issued only at the Thurston County Auditor's Office, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.
When will the first results for Thurston County races be announced?
Shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Where can I find election results online?
The Olympian will post results from Thurston County, state and national results at theolympian.com. Local and state results will be posted about 8:30 p.m. National results will begin to be available starting after polls close on the East Coast at 4 p.m. PST.
Like The Olympian on Facebook for posts about election results and local reaction to them. Or follow @theolympian on Twitter.
The Olympian also will be pushing back deadlines Tuesday night to include the latest coverage. That might delay Wednesday morning deliveries.
What can I expect exit polls to tell me?
This from The Associated Press:
Data collected from polling-place interviews with voters will help explain who voted for whom, and why people voted the way they did. Among the questions to be answered by the exit polls:
Do voters cast ballots for their candidates enthusiastically or holding their noses? Do blacks give strong backing to Hillary Clinton after recent worries about their turnout in early voting? Who wins college-educated whites, who typically skew Republican but are being courted by Clinton?
In a race so often roiled by Donald Trump’s comments about women, what does the gender gap look like? Did people care about Clinton’s problems with her private email setup? Were they worried about Trump’s temperament? From whom did third-party candidates siphon votes?
When will I first know who’s winning?
This from The Associated Press:
The first polls in the East and South — Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia — will close at 4 p.m. PST time.
An hour later, polls in the District of Columbia and 19 states, including Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, will have closed. North Carolina is a good state to watch on the presidency. It tends to be quick-counting, but the race is also close.
At 6 p.m. PST, polls will close in 14 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin, with four states, including Utah, an improbable toss-up this year despite its reliably Republican history, closing an hour later.
Polls in Washington state, California and three other states close at 8 p.m. PST. Alaska will close at 10 p.m. PST.
Where to vote
If you haven’t already sent in your ballot, you can do so until 8 p.m. Tuesday at one of these locations:
▪ Fire District 3, Station 34, 8407 Steilacoom Road SE.
▪ Fire District 3, Station 35, 3701 Willamette Drive NE.
▪ Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. SE, Lacey.
▪ Lacey Post Office, 5815 Lacey Blvd. SE (next to the drive up mail boxes on Clearbrook Drive SE).
▪ Martin Village: 5600 Martin Way E. (parking lot by Taco Bell).
▪ Woodland Retirement and Assisted Living Community, 4532 Intelco Loop SE.
▪ Church of the Good Shepherd, 1601 North St. SE.
▪ Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1515 Harrison Ave. NW.
▪ Crain's Office Supply, 1006 4th Ave. E.
▪ Haggen NW Fresh, 1313 Cooper Point Rd. SW (at the far end of the parking lot near Pier 1 Imports).
▪ The Evergreen State College, 2700 McCann Plaza Drive NW.
▪ Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW.
▪ Black Lake Fire 5, Station 1, 5911 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia.
▪ Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St. SW.
▪ Tumwater School Administration, 621 Linwood Ave. SW.
▪ South Bay Fire 8, Station 81, 3506 Shincke Road NE, Olympia.
▪ South Bay, Fire 8, Station 83, 5046 Boston Harbor Road NE, Olympia.
▪ Bucoda, 103 S. Main St. (across the street from the Liberty Market).
▪ Tenino School District Administration, 301 Old Highway 99 N.
▪ Lackamas Elementary, 16240 Bald Hill Road SE, Yelm
▪ Rainier City Hall, 102 Rochester St. W.
▪ Yelm Schools Administration, 110 First St. N. (in the parking lot across the street from the building).
▪ Grand Mound Center, 19949 Old Highway 99 SW, Rochester.
▪ Littlerock Fire 11, 10828 Littlerock Road SW.
▪ Rochester Fire 1, Station 3, 18346 Albany St. SW.
▪ Fire 13, Station 1, 3707 Steamboat Loop NW, Olympia.