Clinton Trump
An image of Donald Trump squaring off against Hillary Clinton during the first presidential debate. [representational Image]Reuters

The United States presidential elections, set to take place on November 8 2016, are less than a week away. The world will see whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump take charge as the 45th president of the US on that day. So what exactly will happen on election day?

More than 120 million Americans are expected to vote across polling booths in the 50 states. The timings for the polling booths will differ across states but commonly they are open between 6am and 8pm. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will cast their votes in New York but the exact time has not been announced as of now. A system of voting in advance is also in place in the United States and citizens can also mail in their ballots.

As per The Telegraph, the first results are expected to be announced in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, at about 00:01 ET (05:01 GMT). Dixville Notch polling opens 24 hours before the other towns in America and hence it is one of the first places to declare the results. It has a tradition of middle-of-the-night voting.

As polling stations start to close at 7pm ET, first state projections will be made based on exit polls. At 11pm ET (04:00 GMT), it's likely that the election will be 'called' for Trump or Clinton by US TV media.

Role of Electoral College
The Electoral College has 538 electors and a candidate requires 270 electoral votes to be declared the new president. Every state is allotted a certain number of electoral votes — for instance, California has 55 while Maine has four. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members in its Congressional delegation. Each candidate has their own electors in each state. When a person votes for their candidate they are, in fact, voting for their elector. If the total number of electors for a particular candidate is 270, then he or she is declared the next president.

How is the winner declared?
The candidate who gets 270 electoral college votes is the next president of the United States. Once the winner becomes clear, the candidate who loses usually calls up the winner to concede. In case it's a tie, with both candidates having 269 electoral votes, then the House of Representatives could vote as to who will be the new president.

Some interesting facts about the US Elections:

  • According to the US Constitution, a candidate who is 35 years old, has lived in the US for 14 years and is a natural-born citizen of the US can be president.
  • President Barack Obama is the first African-American president of the United States.
  • Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party ticket.
  • On election day, it is not legal to drink alcohol in Kentucky and South Carolina.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses reportedly don't vote in the elections.
  • The five states that apparently have the highest voter turnout are Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
  • The Electoral College has 538 electors and a candidate requires 270 electoral votes to be declared the new president.