On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, roughly 120 million Americans will go to the polls to determine whether Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States of America. It’s going to be a close race between the two bitter rivals who are employing last ditch efforts to woo voters to their side. Both candidates are visiting key battleground states to shore up support to swing the results in their favour.
Former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s double digit lead has somewhat eroded after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced fresh investigations into emails allegedly linked to her use of a private server. On the other hand, real estate mogul and Republican candidate Donald Trump, who is widely predicted to lose the elections, has found himself in a tight spot over allegations of sexual misconduct and other misdemeanors.
In a recent poll conducted by CBS News, Hillary Clinton is leading her Republican rival Donald Trump by four percentage points. Clinton has the support of 45 per cent of likely voters as against 41 per cent for Trump, the poll added.
Here are the answers to some key questions on US Presidential elections 2016:
When will the next US President be announced?
To become the US president, the winning candidate must get 270 Electoral College votes. The winner will be announced on January 6, 2017, after a complicated process involving the Electoral College.
The new president, who will also assume the role of commander-in-chief of the US military, will step into the White House on January 20, 2017. The future leader of US will take Oath of Office at noon on inauguration day.
When is the US Presidential election 2016?
After several months of frenetic campaigning by the US presidential candidates, Americans will finally go to the polls on November 8, 2016. The first polling will close at around midnight United Kingdom time.
When will the results be announced?
November 9, 2016. For the results though, US media organisations will tap into projections from bellwether states and swing states. There a number of bellwether states in US who vote for eventual winner of the election. For instance, Ohio (a major swing state), will close polls at 12:30 am GMT (6 am IST) during the early hours of Wednesday November 9, followed by Missouri at 1 am, New Mexico at 2 am and Nevada at 3 am. Swing states, such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Virginia, also have enough Electoral College votes to decide the outcome.
Most likely the winner will be declared by 4 am GMT (9:30 am IST), when the polling will close in all states aside from Alaska, which has been the case in 2008 and 2012 elections.
The 2016 result will not be formally counted until January 6, 2017 when vice-president Joe Biden will announce the Electoral College vote.
Who are the candidates for US Presidential election 2016?
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump for the Republican Party and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party.
The Democratic party is a centre-left party, who typically favour taxation to pay for bigger government projects and welfare activities. Some Democrats who served as presidents are Barack Obama (still serving), Bill Clinton, John F Kennedy.
What is the election day process for US Presidential election 2016?
The Electoral College
All of 50 states of The United States of America and Washington D.C. have a set number of ‘electors’ in the electoral college. This is roughly proportionate to the size of each state in the US. Now, the Electoral College is made of 538 electors who cast their votes to decide the US President and Vice-President. The number 538 is summation of nation’s 435 representatives, 3 electors (given to the state of Columbia) and 100 senators. To win a majority, a candidate needs to collect at least 270 electors, which essentially means half the total number plus one.
Swing states or battleground states
Swing states or battleground states hold the key to either party winning the election. These are the states which have the similar level of support among voters for either party candidates. Some major swing states are Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Other important ones are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Nevada.
Ohio is considered the most important state of them all. Why? Because no Republican candidate has ever won elections without winning this state. The exception being, Democrat John F Kennedy who won without this in 1960. Ohio is significantly important for candidates as they spend most of their time and money throughout the duration of the campaign.
National Party Conventions
During US elections, the candidates from respective political parties, ie Republicans and Democrats, collected delegates who pledged to endorse them in their respective national party conventions held in July early this year. As a result, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton won more delegates, forcing other candidates to bow out of the presidential race. Both Trump and Clinton were announced as presidential nominees at their respective party national conventions in July.
State-level contests are called primaries or caucuses. Clinton and Trump were declared presidential candidates after they won the primaries. The contest took place during mid-June 2016 and by then the picture was clear both candidates would take on each other in the coming stages.