Oregon conducts its election entirely via mail – the result of a 1998 ballot measure – and any mail-in votes received before 11 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day will be counted. In California, registered voters have until Oct. 26 to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

In Washington, a state that votes almost entirely by mail, ballots need only be postmarked by Election Day – making for very long nights (and usually many days) of counting ballots.

(Longtime Seattle Post-Intelligencer political reporter Joel Connelly wrote a column in November 2009 that painted a hypothetical scenario in which the 2012 presidential election between President Obama and Mitt Romney hangs in the balance as the nation waits for Washington state to count. “Hanging chads on Florida ballots have been replaced by Washington’s hanging returns,” he predicted.)