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LISTEN TO AUDIO: US election, 548 electors, not popular votes, will elect Clinton, Trump

Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton

Only 548 electors will vote for Democratic Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

NAN reports that the U.S. election is decided by the Electoral College made up of 548 persons and not a popular vote as it is obtained in most countries.

To be elected a president, therefore, a candidate must score 270 Electoral College vote, representing 50 per cent plus one vote or a simple majority vote.

Patrick Butler, the Vice President, Programmes at the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), described the American electoral system as “a confusing system and even most Americans don’t understand it”.

Cue-in audio: Butler on U.S. Electoral College

“It’s a very complicated system but in general, what happens is that each of the 50 states awards all of its votes to the candidate who wins a majority in that state.

“So let’s take California for example: if one candidate wins 80 per cent of the votes in that state, they get all of that state’s electoral vote.

“If they win 51 per cent of the votes in that state, they still get all of that state’s electoral vote.

“So what matters in this country is not necessarily the popular vote, which is who won the most votes in the entire country but who won the big states.

‘’It is who wins the Electoral College basically, which means that they won the most votes in states that add up to 270 electoral votes.

“It is a very confusing system basically and even most Americans don’t understand it.

Butler on U.S. Electoral College

A Professor of Political Science at the Christopher Newport University, Quentin Kidd, told a correspondent of NAN in the U.S. that electorates vote for the Electoral College, not the candidates.

Kidd said each state has “winner takes all” system, adding that “whoever wins popular votes takes all the votes; whoever wins popular votes wins the electors”.

“Americans will not be voting for the president directly in the election; it is the electors that will vote for the president at the Electoral College.

“Technically, by Nov. 9, we all wake up and we know who the president is. That will be accepted, that will be spoken of as the incoming president.

“But technically speaking, because the Electoral College doesn’t vote until December, the outcome of the election is not formalised,” he said.