ORLANDO, Fla. – Once polls close on Election Night, America will be watching as ballots are counted in states across the U.S. to determine who will lead the country for the next four years.
It’s important to remember that the winner of the presidential election is not determined by the popular vote but rather the Electoral College.
According to nationalpopularvote.com, there are a total of 538 electoral votes up for grabs. To win the presidency, one candidate needs to secure 270 electoral votes.
The U.S. Constitution says each state is allowed one member of the Electoral College for each of its U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senate members. Of course, the number of U.S. Representatives a state is assigned is reapportioned every 10 years in accordance with the latest census, which means the number of electoral votes a state is allocated could also change every 10 years.
The 538 electoral votes up for grabs this year represent the following, according to nationalpopularvote.com:
- 435 U.S. Representatives from the 50 states, plus
- 100 U.S. Senators from the 50 states, plus
- 3 members of the Electoral College to which the District of Columbia became entitled under the 23rd Amendment (ratified in 1961).
So how will presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden win electoral votes?
Well, 48 of the 50 U.S. states elect their presidential electors using a “winner-takes-all” system, which means 100% of the state’s presidential electors are awarded to the candidate who received the most popular vote in each state.
According to the site, Maine and Nebraska do things a bit differently. In those states, one presidential elector is elected from each of the state’s congressional districts, and two presidential electors are elected on the basis of the statewide vote, which means the votes could be divided among the candidates.
To be declared the winner, it doesn’t matter which states they win, as long as the candidates secure 270 votes. That means the presidency could be won a number of ways.
There are many states that tend to vote Democratic and others that historically vote Republican. Because those states, like California, which has voted blue in the last several elections and is pretty much a guaranteed 55 electoral votes for the Democratic Party this year, are traditionally already decided, presidential candidates spend much of their time on the campaign trail in battleground states, or swing states, like Florida, which has 29 electoral votes. A swing state is a state that doesn’t have a consistent voting pattern that marries it to red or blue and could go either way on Election Night.
The interactive map below, provided by CNN, allows you to map your own road to 270, which shows you all the different ways Trump or Biden could secure a path to the White House. Click on different U.S. states to see how they typically vote and what role they could play in the presidential election. Clicking an individual state will change who is winning its electoral votes.
NOTE: Once polls close at 7 p.m., live race results will be fed to ClickOrlando.com from the Associated Press, which means their data could differ from the information provided above by CNN. This embed is meant to serve only as a preview of what America could see once the polls close.
Visit ClickOrlando.com once the polls close for all live race results, including our live Electoral College tracker.