First polls close in US midterms

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The first polls have begun to close Tuesday in parts of Indiana and Kentucky amid hotly contested midterm elections.

The first polling stations shuttered their doors at 6 p.m. (1100 GMT), as most others in the eastern United States prepare to close an hour later. Polls in Hawaii and most of Alaska will close at 12 a.m. eastern time (0500 GMT).

Results are not expected for hours, however, as Americans continue to cast their ballots in federal, state and local elections that are critical to U.S. President Donald Trump's first, and possibly only, term in office.

Many Americans have said their votes were either for or against the president even though he is not on the ballot, according to several exit polls.

In all, 35 Senate seats are up for grabs, as are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Gubernatorial races are ongoing in 36 states.

Polling leading up to the election showed a highly energized American electorate with expectations of a high turnout for this year's midterms.

Over 39 million Americans cast early ballots ahead of the Nov. 5 polls, according to data compiled by the University of Florida's United States Election Project. That is 20 million more than those who voted early in the 2014 midterms.