The US president has a huge influence on people’s lives both at home and abroad, so the outcome of the US election matter to everyone.
The US political system is dominated by just two parties, so the president always belongs to one of them.
The Republicans are the conservative political party in the US and their candidate in this year’s election is President Donald Trump, who is hoping to secure another four years in power.
The Democrats are the liberal political party in the US and their candidate is Joe Biden, an experienced politician best-known for serving as Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years.
Both candidates compete to win electoral college votes.
In the US, each state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs, so the winner is the candidate that wins 270 or more.
This means voters decide state-level contests rather than the national one, which is why it’s possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still be defeated by the electoral college.
Here are some more facts about the US election to know.
- To become US president, you don’t actually need to win the popular vote. Instead, candidates aim to win the majority in something called the electoral college
- Millions more Americans are voting by mail than in previous elections. Counting postal votes can take more time, and some states won’t start until polling day, so there will almost certainly be delays for some results.
- If there are no clear results on November 3, we’ll have to wait days – or weeks – for vote counting to finish up.
- Biden and Trump aren’t the only two people on the ballot.
- Both parties (Democrats and Republicans) will be paying close attention to elections for the US Senate – where Republicans currently hold a three-seat advantage.
- The Republican Party is also known as the GOP, or the Grand Old Party.
- Both men are in their 70s – Mr Trump would be 74 years old at the start of his second term, while at 78, Mr Biden would be the oldest first-term president in history.
- All 435 seats in the House are up for election this year, while 33 Senate seats are also up for grabs.
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