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The winner of the election is determined by a system called an electoral college. Each of the 50 states, plus Washington DC, receives a number of electoral college votes, totaling 538 votes. More populous states get more votes in electoral colleges than smaller ones.
A candidate must win 270 votes in the electoral college (50% plus one) to win the election.
In all but two states – Maine and Nebraska – the candidate with the most votes wins all of the state’s electoral college votes.
Due to these rules, a candidate can win the election without obtaining the highest number of votes nationally. This happened in the last election, in which Donald Trump won the majority of constituency votes, although more people voted for Hillary Clinton across the United States.
How are the results reported?
The election results on this page are reported by The Associated Press (AP). AP “calls” the winner into a state when it determines that the following candidate has no path to victory. This can happen before 100% of the votes in a state have been counted.
Estimates of the total vote in each state are also provided by AP. The numbers are updated throughout election night, as more data on voter turnout becomes available.
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