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WASHINGTON – Americans are heading to the polls to elect Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to replace Barack Obama as 45th President of the United States.

It’s been the most engrossing, weirdest and grubbiest election campaign in living memory – and it’s almost over.

Voting got under way in earnest on the East Coast from 06:00 EST (11:00 GMT), though some villages in New Hampshire have already polled.

Number of Electoral College Votes (270 to win)

Hillary Clinton (Democrat): 206

Donald Trump (Republican): 164

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump criss-crossed America in a hectic last-minute campaign push for votes.

Results should begin emerging late on Tuesday night, US time, from 04:00 GMT.

Both candidates have held rallies in the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. But there’s still more to come. All 435 House of Representatives seats are up for re-election, plus 34 Senate seats and 12 Governorships.

Who will win the US elections?

Race for President

Mrs Clinton urged voters to back a “hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America” while Mr Trump told supporters they had a “magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system”.

Polls give Democrat Mrs Clinton a four-point lead over Republican Mr Trump.

A record number of Americans – more than 46 million – have voted early by post or at polling stations.

There are signs of a high turnout among Hispanic voters, which is believed to favor Mrs Clinton.

The battle between Clinton and Trump will reach its climax live on TV, with results rolling in from just before midnight.

But with results trickling in a state at a time, the election can get confusing even for seasoned political veterans.

Safe Areas and Swing States

Each state gets a certain number of “electors” – essentially votes – which is roughly proportional to the size and population of the state.

Most states award their electoral votes on a “winner take all” basis. So if a majority votes Democrat in Florida, even if it’s on a knife-edge, the Democrats get all 29 electoral votes.

In total there are 538 electoral votes spread across the states, and a candidate needs a majority of 270 of them to win.

Clinton’s safe states

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Connecticut (The Constitution State)

Population: 3.6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 7

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 4.8%

 

Rhode Island (The Ocean State)

Population: 3.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Democrat

Chances of switching: 8.1%

 

Vermont (Green Mountain State)

Population: 627,000

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Democrat

Chances of switching: 2.1%

 

Washington (The Evergreen State)

Population: 7 million

Elec/Coll votes: 12

Currently: Democrat

Chances of switching: 2.6%

 

New York (The Empire State)

Population: 19.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 29

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 0.3%

 

California (The Golden State)

Population: 38.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 55

Currently: Democrat

Chances of switching: 0.1%

 

Delaware (The First State)

Population: 936,000

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 9.4%

 

New Jersey (The Garden State)

Population: 8.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 14

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 3.5%

 

Hawaii (The Aloha State)

Population: 1.4 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 1.1%

 

Illinois (The Land of Lincoln)

Population: 1.4 million

Elec/Coll votes: 20

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 1.8%

 

Massachusetts (The Spirit of America)

Population: 6.7 million

Elec/Coll votes: 11

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 0.2%

 

Oregon (The Beaver State)

Population: 3.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 7

Currently: Democrat

Chances of switching: 7.6%

 

Trump’s safe states

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Oklahoma (Native America)

Population: 3.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 7

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.1%

 

Kentucky (The Bluegrass State)

Population: 4.4 million

Elec/Coll votes: 8

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.4%

 

Montana (Big Sky Country)

Population: 1 million

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 3.5%

Nebraska (The Cornhusker State)

Population: 1 million

Elec/Coll votes: 2

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 1.6%

 

Arkansas (The Natural State)

Population: 3 million

Elec/Coll votes: 6

Currently: Rep

Chance of switching: 0.4%

 

Missouri (The Show-Me State)

Population: 6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 10

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 2.9%

 

South Dakota (The Mount Rushmore State)

Population: 853,000

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Rep Chances of switching: 4.9%

 

Georgia (The Peach State)

Population: 4.5 million

Elec/Coll votes: 16

Currently: Rep

Chance of switching: 17.6%

 

Kansas (The Sunflower State)

Population: 2.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 6

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 2.5%

 

Maryland (The Old Line State)

Population: 6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 10

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.1%

 

Alabama (The Yellowhammer State)

Population: 4.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 9

Currently: Rep

Chance of switching 0.1%

 

Idaho (The Gem State)

Population: 1.6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching to: 0.6%

 

Mississippi (The Birthplace of America’s Music)

Population: 3 million

Elec/Coll votes: 6

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 1.4%

 

Tennessee (The Volunteer State)

Population: 6.5 million

Elec/Coll votes: 11

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 2.2%

 

Texas (The Lone Star State)

Population: 27 million

Elec/Coll votes: 38

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 4.3%

 

West Virginia (The Mountain State)

Population: 1.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 5

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.2%

 

South Carolina (The Palmetto State)

Famous for: Hosted the first battle of the US Civil War

Pop: 4.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 9

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 11%

 

Indiana (The Hoosier State)

Population: 6.6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 11

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 2.3%

 

Louisiana (The Bayou State)

Population: 4.7 million

Elec/Coll votes: 8

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.6%

 

North Dakota (Peace Garden State)

Population: 739,000

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 2.1%

 

Wyoming (The Equality State)

Population: 584,000

Elec/Coll votes: 3

Currently: Rep

Chances of switching: 0.9%

 

SWING states

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Minnesota (The North Star State)

Population: 5.5 million

Elec/Coll votes: 10

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching: 18.3%

 

New Hampshire (The Granite State)

Population: 1.3 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 35.2%

 

Nevada (The Silver State)

Population: 2.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 6

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 48.6%

Utah (The Beehive State)

Population: 2.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 6

Currently: Rep

Chance of switching to 3rd-party candidate Evan McMullin: 22%

 

Wisconsin (The Copper State)

Population: 5.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 10

Currently: Democrat Chance of switching to Trump: 18.6%

 

Virginia (Birthplace of the Nation)

Population: 8.3 million

Elec/Coll votes: 13

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 17.8%

 

North Carolina (The First in Flight State)

Population: 10 million

Elec/Coll votes: 15

Currently: Rep

Chance of switching to Clinton: 49.6%

Pennsylvania (The Keystone State)

Population: 11.6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 20

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 24.5%

 

Ohio (The Buckeye State)

Population: 11.6 million

Elec/Coll votes: 18

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 64.2%

 

Florida (The Sunshine State)

Population: 19.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 29

Chances: Trump 50.4%

Clinton 49.6%

 

Colorado (The Centennial State)

Famous for: The Rocky Mountains

Pop: 5.4 million

Elec/Coll votes: 9

Currently: Democrat Chance of switching to Trump: 26.3%

 

Arizona (The Grand Canyon State)

Population: 6.8 million

Elec/Coll votes: 11

Currently: Republican

Chance of switching to Clinton: 26.9%

 

New Mexico (The Land of Enchantment)

Population: 2 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 17.8%

 

Michigan (The Wolverine State)

Population: 9.9 million

Elec/Coll votes: 16

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 21.8%

 

Maine (The Pine Tree State)

Population: 1.3 million

Elec/Coll votes: 4

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 22.2%

 

Iowa (The Hawkeye State)

Population: 3.1 million

Elec/Coll votes: 9

Currently: Democrat

Chance of switching to Trump: 71.6%

 

Tight security

As Americans go to the polls, security across the country is expected to be extremely tight.

US authorities have received intelligence of a possible pre-election al Qaeda attack, and more than 5,000 police officers will be assigned to secure central Manhattan. Terror group ISIS has also threatened to “slaughter’ Americans on polling day, the Metro.uk reports.

Barack Obama will remain in the White House until January 20 when the election winner will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States.