Why is the US ballot paper so huge? Could the US election be rigged? Annabelle Dickson went to a polling station to find out.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives at Pittsburgh International Airport in Pit

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives at Pittsburgh International Airport in Pittsburgh, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, to attend a rally. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) - Credit: AP

The process of voting has been under the spotlight after Republican candidate Donald Trump claimed the US election will be rigged. Here is what Annabelle Dickson learnt when she went to the early voting polling station in Cleveland, Ohio.

The ballot paper is huge. It is not just a Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton contest. Among the other elected officials US citizens are voting for are US senators, representatives to Congress, the Board of Education and judges.

In some places the ballot paper is also in Spanish. The ballot paper is not alphabetical. The candidates are rotated in different districts so nobody has an advantage by having their name at the top.

As well as the main options, you can write in a candidate. If someone puts their name forward by a certain date then they are a valid option. If you put down Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse it will not be valid, but there is an official list of other 'write in' candidates.


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Once you have filled in your ballot paper you feed it into a voting machine and can see that your vote has officially been recorded. The information is loaded on to a memory stick. Each polling station has an equal number of observers – one from the Democrats and one from the Republicans. The Democrat has half of the combination for the room where the memory sticks are secured. The Republican has the other half. Nothing is attached to the internet.

The votes are not counted until election night when they are put into tabulation machines. The counting machines are likely to really get under way at about 10pm (3am UK time). An unofficial result is expected at about midnight or 1am (5am or 6am UK time).

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Absentee votes, like those that might come from RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath, may not arrive in time. They will count if they are correctly postmarked. Elections are certified 21 days after election night and absentee votes can be counted late. In a local race, they could change the result of the election.

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