Democrat Joe Biden will win all the presidential races in New England, NBC News projects, but will lose one one of Maine's four electoral votes.
Going into Election Night, Biden was favored in all the races across New England. New Hampshire and Maine were considered the closest contests.
Biden's victory in most of Maine was projected Wednesday about noon. But Maine allocates two of its electoral votes based on how its pair of congressional districts vote, and, three hours later, NBC News allocated the vote from its 2nd Congressional District to President Donald Trump.
In 2016, Maine also split its electoral votes, three for Hillary Clinton and one for Trump. It was the first time Maine divided its electoral votes.
Maine used ranked-choice voting in the presidential race for the first time, which might mean final results take longer to produce than with traditional ballots.
The ranked-choice system kicks in when no candidate wins 50% of the vote. Ballots picking the candidate with the least number of votes are redistributed to the voters' second-choice candidate. If there's still no winner, ballots picking the remaining candidate with the fewest votes are redistributed and so on, until there's a winner.
People had headed to the polls across the region on Tuesday, casting ballots in a critical election that will determine who will lead the nation through the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was an Election Day unlike any other. Over 100 million Americans had already cast their ballots by Tuesday in an election that was reshaped by the worst pandemic in a century. Many voters took advantage of early voting rather than head to polling places in person when coronavirus cases are rising.
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As the U.S. confronts multiple crises, voters had the option between two candidates with very different visions for the future.
"Don't be surprised if we don't have all the national results tonight," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh cautioned in a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "There's heavy voting all around the country. We'll have maybe some idea later in the night who our next president is, but we're going to have to watch that as we move forward here."
That prediction turned out to be correct.
PHOTOS: Boston Businesses Board Up Storefronts Ahead of Election Day
Here's what the experience of voting was like across New England Tuesday:
Law enforcement could be seen patrolling polling places in Massachusetts since they opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday. In addition to the 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard activated by Gov. Charlie Baker, police officers were stationed at the polls Tuesday to maintain order.
Fearing Election Day vandalism and violence, some business owners on Boylston and Newbury streets in Boston were busy boarding up the windows of their storefronts Monday and Tuesday. Walsh said there was no cause for concern, and he remained "cautiously optimistic" that Tuesday would be incident-free in Boston. That prediction turned out to be true as well, at least as the clock hit midnight on Wednesday morning.
Secretary of State William Galvin assured the public that it was safe to vote when announcing the added security measures for Election Day during a Monday press briefing. He said Tuesday no major problems were reported across the state.
"We've had minor administrative problems, but by and large, it's been a very successful morning so far,” Galvin said after casting his own ballot.
Political activity is barred from within 150 feet of voting areas, he noted, and law enforcement officials will enforce those rules.
Galvin expected 1.3 million people to show up at the polls Tuesday on top of the 2.3 million who had voted early, either by mail or in person.
NBC News called the race shortly after polls closed at 8 pm. Official results, however, won't be available until all votes are counted, including ballots that came from military and overseas voters, which will continue to be accepted until Nov. 10.
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In New Hampshire, Biden took home his very first Election Day victory. The former vice president won all five votes in Dixville Notch, a tiny New Hampshire town near the Canadian border that carries on a midnight voting tradition.
Biden was the first presidential candidate to sweep the general election vote in Dixville Notch since the tradition began 60 years ago, according to The New York Times, when Richard Nixon won all nine votes over John F. Kennedy, who nevertheless went on to win the election.
In another midnight vote Tuesday morning, Trump took Millsfield, a town 12 miles to the south of Dixville Notch, with 16 votes to Biden's five.
NBC News projected around 10:30 p.m. that Biden would win the state at large, something polls had suggested in the months and weeks leading up to the election.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the Democrat and former governor, was projected to win reelection. Her opponent, Bryant “Corky” Messner, had Trump's endorsement.
Among the other key races to look at in New Hampshire going into the night included the first Congressional District, where Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas was running for reelection.
His Republican challenger, Matt Mowers, is a former senior White House advisor at the state department under Trump.
In the gubernatorial race, Gov. Chris Sununu won a third term.
His challenger, Democrat Dan Feltes, has served on the state Senate for three terms.
Out of all New England's races, Maine attracted perhaps the most attention for the national impact its presidential and Senate races could have, and it was the last New England state not to get a race call.
It was a momentous election for the state, as it became the first in the nation to use ranked-choice voting to choose a president.
Maine voters first approved ranked voting in federal races in a statewide referendum in 2016. The Legislature later enacted a law to ensure that it's used in the presidential race.
After withstanding numerous court challenges by Maine's Republican Party, it's possible the system could play a part in choosing who gets the swing electoral college vote in the 2nd Congressional District. In 2016, Trump got that vote in a historic split of Maine, with Hillary Clinton getting Maine's remaining three votes, two based on the popular vote and one from the 1st Congressional District.
A repeat performance was very plausible going into Tuesday, but the district had been more of a toss-up, with Biden leading there by four points in Colby College's final poll.
There are five candidates on the presidential ballot, including Trump and Biden. If none of them wins a majority of first-round votes, then there will be additional tabulations in which last-place candidates are eliminated and those supporters' second-place choices are reallocated to the remaining field.
If additional tabulations are required, then all the ballots from hundreds of municipalities have to be shipped to Augusta and entered into a computer which completes the additional tabulations.
Voters also cast ballots in a closely watched U.S. Senate race, as incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins attempted to defend her seat in a four-way battle. The voting system is not used for state legislative or governor's races because of concerns it runs afoul of the Maine Constitution.
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Races for governor and the U.S. House topped the ballot in Vermont, and Republican Gov. Phil Scott won his third two-year term.
The only statewide Republican office holder in the deeply blue state, Scott, a former construction executive from Berlin, is popular and has been given high marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, Vermont has consistently had among the lowest rates of transmission.
Scott, 61, was being challenged by Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who ran as a Democrat but throughout his political career has also worked with and represented Vermont’s Progressive Party.
Voters also cast ballots Tuesday for other statewide elected offices, including lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, secretary of state and auditor of accounts. In the presidential race, which NBC News projected early in the night, Biden and Trump contended with 19 third-party presidential candidates for the state's three electoral votes.
NBC News projected that Biden would win Rhode Island's four electoral votes after midnight on Wednesday morning, making it the last of the New England states besides Maine to be projected.
Rhode Island has backed a Republican for the White House only four times — twice for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956, once for Richard Nixon in 1972 and once for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Hillary Clinton won the state by more than 15 points over Trump in 2016.
But a Republican won an upset over Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, one of Rhode Island’s most powerful politicians. He was beaten by Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung in western Cranston’s 15th legislative district. Voters there backed Trump for president in 2016, and in 2018, Mattiello defeated his GOP opponent by just 329 votes.
Biden cruised to victory in the Nutmeg State, as did the members of its all-Democrat congressional delegation.
Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Jahana Hayes were projected by NBC News to return to Congress. Connecticut hasn't sent a Republican there in over a decade.
About 659,000 people tried absentee voting in the election this year, many for the first time. And Connecticut election officials told NBC Connecticut that, for the most part, it went off without a hitch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.