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This paper proposes a clustering technique, called ELECT, to provide an energy efficient and reliable routing in wireless sensor networks. The ELECT considers node status and link condition, and introduces a clustering metric, called predicted transmission count (PTX), to evaluate the qualification of nodes for clusterheads and gateways. Each clusterhead or gateway candidate depends on the PTX to derive a priority. The clusterhead or gateway candidate with the highest priority will become the clusterhead or gateway. Simulation results show that the proposed ELECT significantly outperforms the clustering technique using a random selection and considering only link quality and remaining energy in packet delivery ratio and energy consumption.