What’s happening across Irish America on Election Day? Check here for updates. Kelly O'Connell

Throughout the day, IrishCentral will be updating this space with local election news from Irish American communities across the US, angles of the 2016 election that have mattered the most to the Irish community in America, and views from Ireland on this historic election day.

Let's watch the results come in: 

7:00pm - It's happening! More polls are closing across the US, as the results roll in. Trump has strong leads so far in the historically red states of Kentucky and Indiana, while Florida and New Hampshire are still too close to call with less than 1% of the votes accounted for. As of now, we're turning it over to the folks at NBC who are streaming their election coverage via YouTube. Thanks for spending this election day with us at IrishCentral - we'll update this space again when the results become clearer. 

6:00pm - Aaaand the polling stations have started closing!

Polls are now closed in most of Indiana and Kentucky. The absolute earliest reporting shows Trump ahead in both of these states, which is not much of a surprise - especially given that Indiana is his running mate Mike Pence’s home turf.

According to Slate’s VoteCastr, which makes predictions based on voter turnout, Clinton has strong leads in Nevada and Florida - the key battleground state.

5:20pm - Let’s check in with some Irish American voters

IrishCentral’s Frances Mulraney headed up to the Woodlawn neighborhood of the Bronx, dubbed “Little Ireland,” to chat with some voters as dusk falls on Election Day. Polls in New York City close at 9, so there are still many more ballots to be cast.

This couple both voted for Clinton - however, he was initially a Sanders supporter and had to come around:

Here’s perspective from a Trump supporter, who is pretty sure his candidate won’t win in his neighborhood but hopes he might take the lead elsewhere in the US:

This couple also chose Clinton. As Stephen (left) put it “I don’t let religion lead my political views.”

These two ladies support rival candidates, and one of them has been a Clinton fan since Bill entered office:  

4:40 - Where the candidates stand

In a campaign that centered largely on talk, comportment, and presidential demeanor, it’s been easy to focus more on the candidates’ personalities than on their platforms.

As the votes continue to roll in, here’s a brief refresher on where each candidate stands regarding three of the important issues concerning voters in this election.

Gun control

It is safe to say that each candidate has opposing views when it comes to gun control and the 2nd Amendment (right to keep and bear arms). Hillary Clinton has called for tighter gun laws without impeding citizens’ rights.

Clinton has said, "We can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners”. Clinton wants to add new federal restrictions on gun sales and ban the selling of assault rifles.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has strongly opposed her stance, while also receiving an endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA). He has repeatedly used examples of the various gun attacks that have happened across America and in Europe over the past year to try and reiterate his stance. He believes that the current legislation should be “fixed” as opposed to adding further restrictions.

“I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn't have 14 or 15 people dead right now.”

Immigration

This is a major issue concerning so many people throughout the United States with both candidates expressing very different views. There is an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish people living in America at this time. The results of this election could have a major impact on these people.

Hillary Clinton wants to see an immigration reform that protects the United States borders and national security, while also allowing illegal immigrants already in this country a path to citizenship which upholds the law.

“I think it’s important that we move to our comprehensive immigration reform, but at the same time, stop the raids, stop the round-ups, stop the deporting of people who are living here doing their lives, doing their jobs, and that’s my priority.”

Donald Trump has expressed some strong views and received backlash on this issue, most notably on his stance of building a wall between the US and Mexico, which he has said Mexico will pay for. Trump also wants to increase the number of border officers while proposing to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

"For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system."

Abortion

Clinton’s views on abortion have evolved over her 30-year career in politics. Today, she is a staunch defender of a Planned Parenthood, a woman’s right to choose, and late-term abortions when the woman’s health is in jeopardy.

Her official platform states: “Women’s personal health decisions should be made by a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor. Hillary will fight back against Republican attempts to restrict access to quality, affordable reproductive health care. She will defend access to affordable contraception, preventive care, and safe and legal abortion—not just in principle, but in practice.”

Trump is notorious for backtracking on his abortion platform throughout the campaign, initially stating that women should be punished for seeking abortions, but then shifting focus to the doctors who provide abortions instead. Even taking the pro-life stance was a change for him (one he is widely believed to have adopted to appease/appeal to the GOP). As he said at a CNN townhall: “I’m pro-life, and I was originally pro-choice. … I have evolved.”

He now believes that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest or where there is a threat to the woman’s life. He also supports a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

4:00pm - Pity Trump’s the son of an immigrant! Ann Coulter’s projections about voters with four American grandparents spark ire.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter took to Twitter this morning to share the deduction that if US voting laws ‘different’ in the sense that only people with four grandparents born in America could vote, Trump would win. (Unlike similar projections made by statistics-driven sites such as FiveThirtyEight.)

Of course, this would mean that Trump himself, with a mother from Scotland and a grandfather from Germany, would be unable to vote.

Children and grandchildren of immigrants - a descriptor that accounts for a significant portion of the Irish American community - were none too pleased with Coulter.  

3:20pm - Will this Scottish goat be right about the election?

With a good few hours until polls close, the election is still too close to call. But you know who doesn’t care about polling numbers? This Scottish goat, who called the election for Clinton.

Boots, a three-year-old pedigree Golden Guernsey who lives on a farm near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, has a solid track record when it comes to predictions. Boots was trained by his owner, Sue Zacharias, 49 to predict the outcomes of the stunt-performing dog shows she runs, but during the Brexit vote Boots set his sights on a much larger question and proved to be correct. This may sting a little for the Donald given that Boots is from his mother’s homeland.

However, Boots is not the only animal to weigh in on the US election. In fact, most of the other animal predictors have pointed, swam by, or eaten a Trump victory.

Geda, a simian seer monkey at the Shiyanhu Ecological Tourism Park in China’s Hunan province, went straight for the Donald Trump cut-out and gave him a big ol’ smooch.

In India, Chanakya II, a “psychic” flowerhorn cichlid fish, had three chances to choose whether to swim towards a floating stick with Trump’s visage or a floating stick with Clinton’s. It chose Trump all three times!

And lastly, when given the choice between Clinton and Trump chew toys, the pups at this dog park all gravitated towards Trump. In that case, the victor is a matter of perspective, we suppose.

2:40pm - GOP Georgia major tells Democrats to vote on the wrong date

The Mayor of Mansfield, Georgia, Jefferson Riley, took to Facebook with what is either a bad joke or just his way of reaffirming his affinity for the Republican Party nominee Donald Trump. He wrote:

“Remember the voting days: Republicans vote on Tuesday, 11/8 and Democrats vote on Wednesday, 11/9.”

Riley is a mayor of a town with a population of 410 located one-hour east of Atlanta. He deleted his Facebook status shortly after he posted it but it was captured by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (see above). Although it’s not known if his status was meant as a joke, after he deleted it he posted a debunked article, in which the Pope supposedly declared support for Trump.

Perhaps Riley was mirroring that famous moment when Trump told the crowds at a rally in Palm Beach City, Florida to “make sure you get out and vote, Nov. 28."

2:00pm: Colorado woman in labor stops off to vote as she makes her way to the hospital

A pregnant woman in Colorado stopped off at the Boulder County, Colorado, clerk’s office to drop off her ballot before rushing to the hospital to give birth to her early arrival, Bella Rose.

1:20pm: The candidates cast their votes

Donald Trump was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers as he arrived at the polling station near his New York City home with his wife Melania this morning.

Earlier in the day, two topless women protesting against Trump were removed from the same polling station. The women burst into the midtown Manhattan polling station shouting “Out of our polls, Trump. Out of our polls, Trump!” and had anti-Trump messages scrawled across their bodies.

Hillary Clinton also cast her vote in New York state at a polling station near her home in Chappaqua, accompanied by Bill. 

In Indianapolis, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence walked from the governor's mansion to his polling precinct just a block away accompanied by his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte.

 

12:45pm - -Florida we’re all looking at you and so far you look red

A Republican victory in Florida would be essential for a win for Donald Trump. However already voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their vote over the weekend and it seems that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton certainly has an edge.

By Tuesday morning roughly 6.4 million voters had already done their duty in Florida, which is about two-thirds of the final electorate. In 2012 Barack Obama won the state by just 74,000 votes.

Republican consultant in Florida, David Johnson, said he believed Clinton could win by three points due to the GOPs shortcomings.

He told the Naples Daily News “We used to have a great statewide operation.

“Now I’m not convinced that’s going on, because I don’t see the evidence. And I see it on the Democrats’ and their allies’ side.”

Overall voting numbers in Florida are way up but the Black and Hispanic turnout to vote has jumped substantially. While Obama’s 2012 candidacy saw the Black communities rise considerably it is believed this year will see figures land even higher.

Among Latinos the numbers who voted, through Saturday, had increased by 100 percent. So far of the 907,000 who have voted this year 36 percent of these did not vote in 2012.

12:12pm - Early-vote estimates see Hillary Clinton in the lead

VoteCastr’s has been working on early-vote estimates, published in the Slate. According their reports, published 2 hours ago, Clinton is leading in five of the six states (Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) from which data was collected. Trump is ahead in Pennsylvania, though early votes were extremely scarce.

H/T: Slate

12pm - Hillary’s “Delete your account” tweet most popular of her campaign

People in the U.S. sent one billion tweets about the election since the primary debates began in August of last year. Clinton and Trump's top three most retweeted tweets ever (Clinton's "delete your account" Tweet was the most retweeted tweet of the entire election) -

Social media has played a major role in this year’s election from the most popular of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “Delete your account,” to Donald Trump’s Cinco de Mayo “The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”…it’s been a roller coaster.

In fact the people of the United States sent over one billion tweets about the election since the primary elections in August.

Hillary’s famous tweet (above) came after Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize President Barack Obama’s endorsement of Hillary. The phrase “Delete your account” is commonly used on social media to dismiss unworthy comments and end future engagement. This tweet garnered her 510,000 and 674,000 likes.

It was Trump’s response to this tweet that become his most popular:

It was shared more than 166,000 times.

The other most popular tweets of the election were:

11.10am - Voters face long wait times in New York City

IrishCentral reporters are witnessing unprecedented waiting times for voters in New York City. 

At a polling station on the city's Upper East Side, IrishCentral founder Niall O'Dowd experienced wait times over two hours at a station where voting normally takes only ten minutes. 

Long lines are also appearing in the outer boroughs where IrishCentral editor Sheila Langan saw hour-long lines for voters in Brooklyn. 

A New York polling station.

A New York polling station.

10.30am - Joe Biden revels in the voting process in Delaware, looks to his future

Vice President Joe Biden visited his polling station, at A.I. DuPont High School, in Wilmington, early this morning to cast his vote in the Presidential Election.

Biden, who can trace his Irish roots back to the Great Hunger, took less than a minute to vote and told the crowds there “it's a beautiful day to vote.”

Speaking about his future the upbeat VP said that he will continues to be involved in all the aspects of politics and helping the public that he has passion for, including preventing violence against women and income inequity.

He joked “The bad news is I'm not going away."

Biden said he couldn’t tell how the results would pan out but told one reporter to keep their eye on Florida. The VP said “It could be a very long night or it could be very short.”

10am - US Ambassador to Ireland holds Election viewing party at Guinness’

US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley.

US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley.

The Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland Kevin F. O’Malley is hosting a private Election Night 2016 viewing party at Guinness’ Storehouse, in Dublin, on Nov 8.

O’Malley is a second-generation Irish American and attorney from St. Louis, Missouri. He held dual citizenship, in the United States and Ireland, but returned his Irish citizenship in order to take on his role as Ambassador. He has Irish ancestry on both sides of his family, and his paternal grandparents came from Westport, County Mayo.

He was an active member of the Democratic Party in Missouri and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has described O'Malley as a "close personal friend" of US President Barack Obama.

 

9.20am - Niall O’Dowd speaks to RTE about confident Hillary supporters

Above is a clip from RTE radio’s Morning Ireland. IrishCentral’s Founder Niall O’Dowd speaks to the Irish national broadcaster (from 4.30 mins) about the confidence being felt in Hillary Clinton’s support camps, how the “blue wall” will affect her chances, why Donald Trump has had such success and more.

8.40am - Irish American VP candidate Tim Kaine votes early

Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella reported early this morning:

"Senator Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, have arrived at their local polling place, the Hermitage Methodist Home in Richmond, Virginia about 5:50 a.m. They walked over from their house. ... With Kaine is his dad, Al Kaine, and his mom, Kathy. ... Kaine and his wife showed their photo IDs and were handed ballots. ... Kaine and his wife showed their photo IDs and were handed fill-in-the bubble ballots. Then they fed them into the machine.

“Right before them in line was Minerva Turpin, 99, president of the residents association. ... Turpin [placed] an 'I voted' sticker on Kaine after he turned in his ballot. After Turpin planted the sticker, Kaine planted a kiss in her cheek ... and he left the building."

8.00am - Huckabee warns Republicans didn’t fully back Trump

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has issued a warning to the Republicans who never came around to back Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Could this be just a taste of the intra-party tension that could follow Nov 8?

Speaking to Fox News Huckabee, who was a candidate in the United States Republican presidential primaries in both 2008 and 2016, said “I'm going to tell you something. I'm going to remember them.

“And I hope every other Republican remembers them. Don't ever ask me for your vote again because you're done."

Polls show Trump has the vote of most Republicans but many elites GOP figures have been reluctant to back the straight-talking Trump. For example, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, vowed that he would vote for Trump but he also disavowed some of his controversial comments and positions. Also, Senator Ted Cruz initially declined to endorse Trump but has now promised to back the nominee.

Huckabee has been one of Trump’s most faithful surrogates and his daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has served as a senior adviser on the Trump campaign.

He told Fox that even "some of the even most reluctant Republicans are coming around."

He added that many Republicans may be avoiding the public expression of support for Trump as they fear being labeled racist. This is a popular theory among Republicans.

He said “I'm telling you, wherever I go, I don't meet people who are for Hillary.”

7.20am - Voters queue to vote - Forecast predicts 72% Clinton win

Voters are going to the polls after the candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s final rallies last night. Queues in polling stations around the country are starting to form as the nation decides the result of the 2016 United States Presidential Elections.

Right now, with less than a day until the results are revealed, the ESPN blog FiveThirtyEight, run by highly esteemed statistician Nate Silver, is reporting this prediction:

6.40am - Out of the mouths of babes – Irish kids on Hillary Clinton

These Irish kids have some great views from “I think it’s time for a female presidents” to “women can do more things than boys.” And “I’d give her my vote.”

You just can’t argue with these cuties.

6.00am - Hillary has first win already!

Hillary Clinton has won a very early lead in the 2016 presidential election, with a margin of 4.2 over Donald Trump, in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

Voting polls in the tiny town opened after midnight on Tuesday and closed as soon as everyone had voted. AP reported that under New Hampshire state law, communities with fewer than 100 voters can get permission to open their polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered.

In Dixville Notch Clinton won half the votes, Libertarian Gary Johnson took one and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney got a write-in vote.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good morning! After 21 months of campaigning, Election Day 2016 is finally here and we are so close to finding out who will be the next president of the United States of America.

Throughout the day, we’ll be updating this space with local election news from Irish American communities across the US, angles of the 2016 election that have mattered the most to the Irish community in America, and views from Ireland on this historic election day.

Have any insights or an Election Day story to share? Let us know in the comment section or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

To get things started, let’s take a look back at Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump’s connections to Ireland.

Bill and Hillary Clinton arrive in Ireland in 1995.

Bill and Hillary Clinton arrive in Ireland in 1995.

Hillary Clinton first became involved with the Irish and Northern Ireland during her husband’s presidency. She and Bill Clinton were the first presidential couple to ever give a hoot about Ireland, ancestral pleasantries aside. They broke the 220-year mold of taking Britain’s word for Irish issues and helped create the peace process in Northern Ireland. Hillary Clinton, in particular, made inroads into tough communities in Northern Ireland and helped to galvanize women.

As United States Senator from New York, Clinton represented New York’s vibrant Irish American community. She visited the Republic of Ireland on her first trip in the Senate, and Northern Ireland on her second trip. She worked with community leaders, met with Irish leaders every year she was a senator and had an intern in her office from Northern Ireland every year.

As Secretary of State, she ensured Ireland was high on the U.S. foreign policy priority list, conducting a high number of official visits and appointing a special economic envoy for Northern Ireland, which helped regenerate the local economy by securing new investment in Northern Ireland, and worked behind the scenes, continuing to encourage Northern Ireland’s leaders and promote implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Read more on Clinton’s legacy with Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Irish America:

Not coming from a political background, Donald Trump’s connections to Ireland exist strictly in the realm of business, though he does have a Celtic link – his mother, Maryanne MacLeod, was a Scottish immigrant from the Isle of Lewis, and was even a native Gaelic speaker.

His strongest tie to Ireland, however, is a golf course: the Trump International Hotel and Golf Links in Doonbeg, Co. Clare. Some folks in Doonbeg have said that they are grateful for the employment opportunities Trump has brought to the area, while others express great disdain for Trump. He has also clashed with the local planning board on numerous occasions over his plans to build a barrier wall to combat coastal erosion along his golf course.

Trump initially scheduled a visit to Ireland earlier this year, which he abruptly canceled. That may have been a wise move considering the Irish government had previously heard a motion to ban Trump from entering the country.

Read more about Donald Trump and Ireland: