U.S. Presidential ElectionU.S. Presidential Election
Updated: Fri, 26 Oct 2012 20:15:00 GMT | By Tom Phillips
How America chooses a president

How do U.S. elections work?



How do U.S. elections work? (© Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • How do U.S. elections work? (© Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The popular vote (© Adam Hunger/Reuters)
  • The electoral college (© Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
  • Winner takes all (© Getty Images)
  • Swing states (© Getty Images)
  • Path to the presidency (© Jim Young/Reuters)
  • Every vote counts? (© Marc Serota/Reuters)
  • The also-rans (© Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
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On the surface, the system for electing U.S. presidents is fairly straightforward. Americans vote directly for the leader they want (rather than, as in some countries, voting for local representatives or parties in a parliament, who then elect their own leader). The American voters have only two major parties to choose from, so on Nov. 6 voters will be choosing either Barack Obama’s or Mitt Romney’s name on the ballot.  

But of course it’s not quite that simple ...

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Poll

Designed to simulate smoking, electronic cigarettes continue to be caught up in possible regulations and restrictions. Do you think they should be treated the same as cigarettes?

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

  1.  
    40 %
    No. They came into existence for a reason – to be a less harmful alternative to smoking.
    1,502 votes
  2.  
    50 %
    Yes. A cigarette is a cigarette whether it’s a vaporized version or not.
    1,873 votes
  3.  
    9 %
    Not sure.
    341 votes
  4.  
    1 %
    Maybe.
    55 votes

Total Responses: 3,771
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.