OK punters, here we go.
Voting has just closed in the eastern U.S. states, with the first results expected after 11 AM, Melbourne time and there are a couple of points to keep in mind.
1. As the 2000 election made clear, the winner of the popular vote does not necessarily become Prez. The successful candidate must achieve a majority of delegates (271) in the Electoral College. Each state has a number of votes in the EC, based on the number of seats it holds in the Congress, with the more populous states having more votes. Thus large states like Florida have 27 votes and smaller states like Alaska have three.
2. The vast majority of states operate on a “winner take all basis”. Even if McCain gets 49 per cent of the popular vote in say, California, Obama would still take all of California’s 55 votes to the EC.
3. Voting is not compulsory, so the parties devote vast resources into getting people to vote.
4. The U.S doesn’t have anything like our Australian Electoral Commission. Voting methods are determined by the state in question. This can lead to voting methods varying wildly from state to state and sometimes within states.
5. The seppos are also voting for 538 House of Representatives and Senate seats.
6. In the U.S, the Democrats are blue and the Republicans are red. Annoying I know, but there you are.
7. Keep your eye on key eastern states, like Virginia, Ohio and Florida. If they go heavily for the Dems early on, McCain is most likely toast.
8. U.S. beer is largely crap.