US Election Process

How the US election works?
All 50 US states and Washington DC have a set number of “electors” in the electoral college – roughly proportionate to the size of each state.
  • California, the largest state, has 55 electoral votes, while sparsely-populated Wyoming and tiny Washington DC only get only three each.
  • There are 538 electors and to win a majority and become president either candidate needs to accumulate 270 electors – half the total plus one.
  • Americans technically vote for electors, not the candidates themselves. The electors are state officials or senior party figures, but they are not usually named on the ballot.
  • The number of electors each state gets is also equal to the number of seats it has in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • All but two states – Maine and Nebraska – use a winner-takes-all system, so if you win the most votes in a state you take its entire haul of electoral college votes.
  • The key for either party to win the presidential election is to target specific battleground states. There are several swing states that over recent elections have gone both ways. They hold the key to winning the election.
What are swing states?
These states are called so because they swing between the Republicans and Democrats depending upon the election season. They do not have any one personal favourite party that they have been holding on to traditionally and have the potential to alter the course of the elections in favour or against either of the parties.
Swing states are largely determined through opinion polls and results of previous elections. In 2016, the states that are being regarded as swing states include, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado, and North Carolina. These states can be divided into three categories:
  1. First, there are those states which over the years have kept oscillating between the parties. They include Ohio and Florida and these two states are crucial in making the final decision.
  2. Then there are those states which have traditionally been Republican but might be swinging in favour of Clinton on account of Trump’s unpopularity.
  3. Finally, there are some states which had been won over by Obama from the Republicans in 2008 and 2012 and Clinton would have to hold on to them lest they go back to the Republicans

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