US Elections 2016: Things you need to know

The winning candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral votes to clinch the presidency

US Elections 2016: Things you need to know

The long wait for the decisive night is over for Americans. They are going to polls to choose-Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to lead them as 45th President.

Some of the most important and interesting things you need to know about the most debated presidential elections are

The Decisive Number 270

The winning candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral votes to clinch the presidency.

Voting takes place in 51 small assemblies- in the 50 states and the US capital Washington DC.

When the results start coming in, an electoral map will be formed. Each victory colors each state red for Republicans and blue for Democrats.

Media and websites use this map to give out a clear picture of how the candidates are doing in each state after the polls. In a way, the shaded map gives out the idea of politics in US for each presidential elections.

What are swinging states

Polling stations near to US east coast close at 7:00 pm (0000 GMT Wednesday) and the last nearby Alaska at  0600 GMT Wednesday.

When polling stations close to Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Indiana and Kentucky go to voting, the drama begins.

Georgia, normally a Republican bastion will give out the first surprise if it eludes Donald Trump. Also, Virginia, won by Barack Obama in 2012, fails Clinton.

Next surprise would come from Ohio and North Carolina, which represents 18 and 15 electoral votes for winning candidate.Ohio a historically Democratic-leaning state and North Carolina for Republican could swing either way this time.

A burst of results from near 30 states in the next 90 minutes will further fill the electoral map red or blue.

Florida, which accounts for decisive 29 electoral votes will be the centre of attraction. Florida represents an ethnically and politically mixed state. Obama won it back in 2012 while in 2000, in a highly disputed and thrilling election George W. Bush defeated Al Gore there.

Northeastern of New Hampshire and Pennsylvania both a Democratic powerhouse may give a surprise this time.

Conservative states bordering Mexico such as Arizona and Texas are likely to go with Clinton this time.

Colorado,Michigan, and Wisconsin which used to go with Democrats may surprise Clinton by going with Trump. They account for 35 electoral votes.

How the results are declared

Through vote tallies, exit polls, and speculations US media announces winners in each state.

They usually not bother to wait till the results from California- A democratic stronghold with 55 votes- are out by

To believe the opinion polls, this year's race would stretch well into the night.