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US Election 2016: A practical guide

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U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (R)   © Reuters

The U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 might appear to be a nationwide contest between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat rival Hillary Clinton to win the support of 200 million registered voters, but the winner is not decided by a simple majority vote or plurality.

The U.S. uses an unusual "electoral college" system, in which whoever wins the most votes in each of the 50 states and in Washington, D.C, is awarded that state's electoral college votes. The exceptions are Nebraska and Maine, which use a proportional system to allocate their electoral college votes.

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