US election 2020: when will the loser of the presidential election concede? Here are all the times since 1976

For Brits trying to follow events after the polls close at the US elections, staying up until the loser concedes can make for a long night.

We have looked back at all of the concession times over the last 44 years to get some idea of how things might play out tonight, Tuesday, November 2, the night elections have been held since the statute dictating that was passed in 1845.

Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded defeat at 7.35am to Donald Trump.

On one occasion, you might remember, the election was not decided for days.

In 2000, the extremely close contest between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Gore conceded on December 12 – forty days after the election.

But that was a very rare incident.

The latest concession between 1976 and 2016 came in 2004 when Democrat John Kerry, who was facing incumbent George W. Bush, conceded at 7pm UK time – 15 hours after the polls closed in America.

On every other occasion since then, the loser has conceded in the early hours of the morning UK time – often when the polls have closed in the final states in the west and a fairly clear picture has emerged of how all states have voted.

Concessions normally involve a phone call from the loser to the winner – although in 1976, unseated Republican incumbent Gerald Ford sent a telegram to Democrat Jimmy Carter to concede the race.

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However, the first phone call concession only came in 1968 when Hubert Humphrey (Democrat) lost to Richard Nixon (Republican).

Here is the full list of times when losers conceded at each election since 1976:

  • 1976 – Gerald Ford (R) concedes to Jimmy Carter (D) at 4.37am UK time.
  • 1980 – Carter (D) concedes to Ronald Reagan (R) at 2.50am UK time.
  • 1984 – Walter Mondale (D) concedes to Ronald Reagan (R) at 4.20am UK time.
  • 1988 – Michael Dukakis (D) concedes to George Bush (R) at 4.16am UK time.
  • 1992 – George Bush (R) concedes to Bill Clinton (D) at 4.15am UK time.
  • 1996 – Bob Dole (R) concedes to Bill Clinton (D) at 4.30am UK time.
  • 2000 – Al Gore (D) concedes to George W. Bush (R) on December 12.
  • 2004 – John Kerry (D) concedes to George W. Bush (R) at 7pm UK time.
  • 2008 – John McCain (R) concedes to Barack Obama (D) at 4.30am UK time.
  • 2012 – Mitt Romney (R) concedes to Barack Obama (D) at 6am UK time.
  • 2016 – Hillary Clinton (D) concedes to Donald Trump (R) at 7.35am UK time.

Technology has changed over the years. When Humphrey conceded at 7.30am UK time in 1968, his first comments to the audience were: “Thank you. Well, first of all, may I thank you for your — is this loud- speaker working?”

For those wondering what it feels like to have to stay up that late to get a result, his final words might offer a hint.

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He said: “I feel that by the time the turn of day comes tomorrow, you and I are going to be a lot happier and much more cheerful than we are now. Thank you. Now, go and get some sleep.”