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

Donald Trump and Joe Biden are in the final stages of the race to become the 46th President of the United States.

Here's all you need to know about the 2020 US presidential election.

When is the US Presidential election?

The US Presidential election takes place on Tuesday 3 November 2020.

However, according to the US government website, most of the states have early voting which allows registered voters to vote on specified dates before November 3.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, states are making it easier for citizens to vote by mail.

Who is running in the election?

The US is predominately a two-party political system, comprising of the Republicans and the Democrats.

Donald Trump - a Republican - is running for a second term (four years) as the President of the United States of America.

Joe Biden - a Democrat - is no stranger to the White House. He served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. 

There are a number of battleground states that Trump and Biden will need to target. They are North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

What are the key dates?

Apart from election day, the other key dates to look out for are the dates of the TV debates.

Trump and Biden have already gone head to head in a heated presidential debate.

The second televised debate was the vice-presidential debate which took place on Wednesday 7 October in America and from 2am on Thursday 8 October in the UK.

Vice president Mike Pence and his Democratic challenger, Kamala Harris came face to face where they debated a number of topics including the coronavirus pandemic, the environment and race and law enforcement. The debate took place in Salt Lake City.

Trump and Biden were due to participate in another presidential debate on Thursday 15 October. However, the planned event didn't go ahead. Instead, Biden participated in a town hall hosted by ABC's George Stephanopoulos in Pennsylvania and Trump participated in a town hall in Florida hosted by Savannah Guthrie of NBC News.

The final presidential debate took place on Thursday 22 October in Nashville, Tennessee. The final debate was unlike the first after organisers announced that the debate would feature a mute button that would allow each candidate to speak without any interruptions.

Who is leading in the election?

According to various reports and sources, Biden is currently leading in the national polls. The national polls indicate how popular the candidate is across the country.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that Biden will be heading for the White House as the US uses an electoral college system.

Explaining how states such as Florida are crucial in the election, GMB correspondent Richard Gaisford said: "Orlando is a crucial city right in the heart of a battleground state that Donald Trump really needs to win.

"If he loses in Florida then under the electoral college system, he’s pretty much lost the entire election barring some sort of miracle...Biden is a bit ahead in the polls here."

How are the votes counted?

When US citizens cast their vote, they are not voting for their president and vice-president directly. Instead, they appoint electors who formally elect them on their behalf. The electors are state officials or senior party figures.

The electoral college is a system whereby each state is worth a certain number of electoral college votes, based partly on population and other factors.

The person who goes on to become president must win what is known as the electoral college. The candidate must secure 270 electoral college votes to win the election.

When will the results be announced?

It could take days or weeks to determine the next President of the United States of America.

Not only do different states stop voting at different times, but postal votes could also delay the US election result.