The polls are closed, and the votes for the 2020 US election are currently being counted – in a matter of hours, we will know whether President Donald Trump will serve another term, or if Joe Biden will replace him in the Oval office.
In 2016, Trump won by a landslide victory over Democrat opposition Hilary Clinton, and the President is hoping to do the same again.
But how many votes will Trump or Biden need to win the election?
Here is all you need to know.
How many votes are needed to win the US election?
In order to win the election, a candidate will need to at least win the majority of electoral seats in the House of Representatives.
There are a total of 538 electoral seats up for grabs – making the majority 270.
The electoral seats are distributed between all 50 states, with each state being assigned a number of seats based on their population – California, for example, has the largest population and so has the largest amount of electoral voting seats (55).
In 2016, Trump won 306 electoral seats – despite Hilary Clinton winning nearly three million more votes.
What happens if neither candidate gets 270 votes?
It is possible that neither candidate reaches 270 seats – this may happen if an independent party manages to win any electoral seats, while the Democrats and Republicans tie.
However, a third party winning an electoral seat is unlikely as the last time this happened was in 1968 when George Wallace of the American Independent Party won Alabama.
In this scenario, the result announcement would be delayed, and the current House of Representatives choose who will be the next President with a ballot, called a contingent election.
The representative from each of the 50 states gets one vote irrespective of size and the winner is elected.
50 is an even number, so there could be a tie after this ballot. In that case, the House of Representatives keeps voting until there is a winner.
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US election 2020
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Wondering how it all works? Check out our guide to the most Googled questions on the 2020 election which covers everything you need to know about swing states, the electoral college, and everything in between.
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Check out Metro.co.uk’s full US election coverage here
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