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America decides today

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The United States of America (USA) heads to the polls today Tuesday, 8 November, to elect their 45th president and 48th vice president.

The two main candidates are Donald Trump of the Republican Party and Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party.

Trump’s policies on immigration and his comments for example on groping women, saw him fall behind in the electoral polls.

However, with the news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating Hilary Clinton with just days to the polls, Trump closed the gap, even though the Democratic candidate has been cleared by the FBI from the latest email probe.

To run for president, one must be a US citizen by birth, be at least 35 years old, and must have been resident for 14 years.

To be elected American president boils down to a system called the Electoral College, a group of people who choose the winner – 538 of them. 270 of them are needed to make a president.

But not all states are equal – California, for example, has more than 10 times the population of Connecticut, so they don't get an equal say.

Each state has certain number of these "electors" based on their population in the most recent census (it so happens that it's the same number of districts in a state, plus two senators).

When citizens vote for their preferred candidate, they're actually voting for the electors, some of which are pledged to one candidate, some for another.

But in almost every state (except Nebraska and Maine), the winner takes all – so the person who wins the most electors in New York, for example, will get all 29 of New York's electoral votes.

In the race to get to the number – 270 – it is the swing states that often matter most and they are Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, and Nevada .

Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/with files from the BBC

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