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US presidential election 2020: How is the next president of the United States of America decided?

The eyes of the world are on America as it decides if Donald Trump’s time as president is up.

It’s an election like no other and it is possible that the candidate with the most votes won't necessarily be the winner. It happened in 2016 with Hillary Clinton who won almost three million more votes but lost the presidency to Trump.

Here's Charlotte to explain how it all works...

How is the next President of the United States of America decided?

America uses the electoral college to elect its President. Each of the 50 states plus Washington DC is awarded a certain number of votes depending roughly on its population. For example, California, America's largest state, gets 55 votes whilst sparsely populated Wyoming only gets three.

Generally, states award all their electoral college votes to whoever gets the majority. So if the Republication candidate gets 50.1% of the vote in Texas, they would get all the 38 electoral college votes. Whoever picks up 270 out of the 538 votes up for grabs, wins.

This system means one candidate can get fewer votes overall but still win the 270 electoral college votes needed to become president.

Some states always tend to vote in the same way - for example, California votes Democrat and North Dakota normally votes Republican. It's the so-called swing-states like Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are the states that could hold the balance of power. All eyes will be on Trump vs Biden, but voters will also be choosing new members of Congress. The Democrats currently hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

But the Republicans control the Senate.

There are 35 seats up for grabs here. If Democrats win control of both houses, they could block Trump's plans if he was re-elected.

The pandemic means a record amount of people will be voting by post - something Donald Trump has been highly critical of - so the result could take days or even weeks to emerge. Whatever happens, the 2020 presidential election is set to be the most unconventional race ever held.

Read more on the election:

The 2020 Election Night Insider's Guide: Everything you need to know

US presidential election 2020: Who is leading and when will the results be announced? All you need to know.

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