1. A uniform, nationwide Election Day was instituted by Congress in 1845. The day was set as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The earliest Election Day can be is Nov. 2, and the latest it can be is Nov. 8.
2. The last polls – those in Western states – will close at 8 p.m. PST. To see a list of state opening and closing times, check out http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/State_Poll_Opening_and_Closing_Times_(2012).
3. Several states have declared Election Day a civic holiday, while others allow workers to take time off to vote. Some unions and groups have pushed in recent years to have the day declared a federal holiday to make it easier for people to vote.
4. The magic number today is 270. That’s the number of Electoral votes a candidate needs to secure the presidency. There are 538 total votes: 435 representatives, 100 senators and three electors from Washington, D.C.
5. Whoever wins the election will be inaugurated on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.
GateHouse News Service