The country’s 58th quadrennial presidential election features Republican Party nominee Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton, as well as minor-party and independent candidates such as the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, Jill Stein of the Green Party and independent Evan McMullin, who is on the ballot in only 11 states.
At 6:30 am EST, polling stations opened in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia.
North Carolina is considered to be the so-called American divide, having voted Republican in 2004, Democratic in 2008 and Republican again in 2012.
Ohio is a key swing state that has voted for the eventual winner of the election all but one time since the Second World War.
At 7 am EST, polling stations opened in Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and part of Tennessee.
Nationwide voting is conducted biannually — including non-presidential-year races for Congress — on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. This year, polls will begin closing as of 6 pm EST, with the last polling stations — in western Alaska — scheduled to close at 1 a.m. EST on Wednesday.
Results are expected to begin coming in around 6 pm EST from Indiana and Kentucky.
Election Day is a civic holiday in a few states, including Delaware and New Jersey, while in others some employers give workers time off to vote.
President Barack Obama’s second term will officially end at noon EST on January 20, 2017, whereupon the winner of Tuesday’s election will be sworn into office.