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How are elections conducted?
The winner in an election is determined through a system called the Electoral College. Each of the 50 states, plus Washington, DC, is awarded a number of electoral college votes, for a total of 538 votes. More populous states get more constituencies than smaller states.
A candidate needs to win 270 Electoral College votes (50% plus one) to win the election.
In every state except for two – Maine and Nebraska – the candidate with the most votes wins all of the state’s Electoral College votes.
According to these rules, a candidate can win elections without obtaining the largest number of votes nationwide. This happened in the recent election, in which Donald Trump won the majority of the electoral college votes even though more people voted for Hillary Clinton across the United States.
How are results reported?
Election results have been published on this page by The Associated Press (AP). The AP “summons” the winner in the event when they decide that the next candidate has no way to win. This can happen before 100% of the state’s vote is counted.
Estimates of total votes in each state are also provided by the AP. The numbers are updated throughout election night, as more voter turnout data is available.
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