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Polls Begin Closing In 6 States Across the U.S.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's now just after 7:00 p.m. in the East. And that means it is the beginning of the end of this very long and bitter election campaign. The final polls are closing in six states. Virginia, the state that's gone Democratic in the past two presidential elections, is one of them.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Also Indiana, where there is an election to fill a Senate vacancy. Republican Dan Coats is retiring.

SIEGEL: And Georgia, a reliably Republican state that this year could be close.

CORNISH: Rounding it out, three fairly predictable states when it comes to presidential voting - Vermont, Kentucky and South Carolina. Then in less than 30 minutes, two closely contested states rich in electoral votes will stop voting - Ohio and North Carolina.

SIEGEL: We'll let you know when the Associated Press calls the race in each of those states. Joining us now are NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good to see both of you.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hi there.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good to be here.

SIEGEL: And Domenico, there are some results and some calls. What can you tell us?

MONTANARO: Well, right now, the Associated Press has called at the poll close time for Indiana and Kentucky, both for Donald Trump, and Vermont for Hillary Clinton. Indiana, kind of interesting given that Indiana was a place that Barack Obama won in 2008, although it has not been expected to be close in this election. There's also a key Senate race in Indiana with Congressman Todd Young and Democrat Evan Bayh. There's no call in that race. But Rand Paul has been re-elected to the Senate in Kentucky and Pat Leahy re-elected to the Senate from Vermont.

SIEGEL: And in Vermont, I believe the AP also said that in the presidential race, they were projecting Hillary Clinton...

MONTANARO: Correct.

SIEGEL: ...As carrying that. Mara, that's what we know about what's happened so far. What are you looking for in the states that close this hour?

LIASSON: Well, we're still looking to see if Donald Trump can ride a huge wave of white non-college voters to overcome Hillary Clinton's advantages with minorities, young people and women. And that's what we're waiting to see. And we don't have a really good battleground case yet - battleground state yet as a test case.

SIEGEL: At 7 o'clock, the polls did close in Virginia. So that's a - that used to be considered a toss-up battleground state.

LIASSON: It used to be, but it's been trending much more blue. It's really interesting. We're watching to see if the map shifts a little bit, if states that were considered battlegrounds in the Rust Belt, in the Midwest now become more reliably Republican and the center of gravity for the Democrats shift to the upper South and the West.

SIEGEL: And just a word before you guys go. At the half hour, polls close in Ohio and North Carolina. How important are those states?

LIASSON: Really important. Donald Trump needs them to win. If Hillary Clinton can win two of the big three battlegrounds or even one of the big three battlegrounds, he doesn't have a path.

MONTANARO: And unquestionably, Hillary Clinton's campaign calls North Carolina the roadblock state. They believe that Donald Trump does not have a path if he can't win North Carolina.

SIEGEL: Domenico Montanaro, Mara Liasson, thanks.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

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