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What Happens If There’s a Tie in a US Presidential Election?

What Happens If There’s a Tie in a US Presidential Election?



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When the Electoral votes were tallied in the 1800 U.S. presidential election—only the fourth election in the young nation’s history—there was a problem. Two candidates received exactly 73 electoral votes, producing the first and (so far) only Electoral College tie in American history.

Thankfully, the Constitution has a contingency plan for tie elections laid out in Article II, Section 1: “[I]f there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President.”

If only it were that easy. A bitterly divided House of Representatives deadlocked 36 times before it finally picked Thomas Jefferson as the winner of the 1800 election, and in the process laid bare a host of problems with the Electoral College that could only be fixed with a constitutional amendment.

Political Parties Threw a Monkey Wrench in the Electoral College

WATCH: America 101: What is the Electoral College?

The framers of the Constitution hoped that political parties wouldn’t be necessary given the limited powers of the federal government, but presidential candidates started coalescing into political factions as early as the 1796 election, the first after George Washington. Almost immediately, the existence of warring political parties created headaches for the Electoral College system.

In the first four U.S. presidential elections, each Elector cast two ballots for president. The candidate who won the majority of Electoral College votes was the president and the second-place finisher was the vice president. In the 1796 election, John Adams won the presidency, but the second-place finisher was Thomas Jefferson, Adams’ arch political rival and now his vice president.

“That was one of the first clues that the Electoral College created by the founders wasn’t working as intended,” says Robert Alexander, a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University and author of Representation and the Electoral College.

READ MORE: What Is the Electoral College and Why Was It Created?

A Tie Between Two Candidates From the Same Political Party

The 1800 tie election made an even stronger case that the Electoral College needed to be fixed. By 1800, two political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, held full sway over Electors, who pledged to cast their ballots for the parties’ handpicked slate of candidates.

“[Candidates for president] ran as a ticket,” says Alexander. “That created problems when Electors pledged to the Democratic-Republicans cast one vote for each of the two people on the ticket. The result was a 73-73 tie between Thomas Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, both Democratic-Republicans.”

Meanwhile, the Federalist candidate, incumbent John Adams, only received 65 votes. According to the Constitution, an electoral tie goes to the House of Representatives, where each state casts one ballot to pick a winner from among the two tied candidates. So Adams was out of the running and Burr, Jefferson’s running mate, could have stepped aside, but didn’t.

The Federalists, who still held a majority in the lame duck Congress, were now in the awkward position of picking a president from two enemy candidates. Federalist leaders like Alexander Hamilton hated Jefferson’s politics, but they distrusted the opportunistic Burr even more.

Pennsylvania and Virginia began to mobilize their militias, wondering if the stalemate would spark a civil war. It took 36 consecutive tie votes in the House before Jefferson was picked as the president and catastrophe was narrowly averted.

READ MORE: What Was Alexander Hamilton's Role in Aaron Burr's Contentious Presidential Defeat?

12th Amendment: One Vote for President, One for Vice President

WATCH: America 101: Why Do We Have a Two-Party System?

The 1800 election fiasco demonstrated how the existing Electoral College system wasn’t equipped for party-line voting. Just in time for the 1804 presidential election, Congress passed and the states ratified the 12th Amendment, which now instructed Electors to cast one ballot for president and a second for vice president.

“Even though the Electoral College has been one of the most controversial institutions created by the framers—there have been over 700 attempts to amend or abolish it—only a few of those attempts have borne fruit, the 12th Amendment being the first of those,” says Alexander. “That actually changed the practice of the Electoral College considerably.”

In addition to creating separate ballots for president and vice president, the 12th Amendment also limited the field of presidential candidates that could be voted on in a contingent election in the House of Representatives. The amendment states that if no candidate wins the majority of Electoral votes, the election is thrown to the House to serve as a tie-breaker, but only the top three Electoral vote-getters make the cut.

READ MORE: These US Elections Saw the Highest Voter Turnout Rates

Andrew Jackson Loses Election After ‘Corrupt Bargain’

That seemingly harmless provision of the 12th Amendment had serious ramifications in the 1824 presidential election, in which four candidates received substantial Electoral votes, denying the front-runner Andrew Jackson the majority required to claim the presidency.

Because only the top three vote-getters moved on to the contingency election in the House, the fourth-place finisher, Henry Clay, was out of the running. But Clay, who was Speaker of the House at the time, allegedly used his influence to get John Quincy Adams elected instead of Jackson.

When Jackson, who had also won the popular vote, learned that Adams named Clay as his Secretary of State, he fumed at what he saw as a brazenly “corrupt bargain” to steal the White House.

“Jackson has the distinction of being the only presidential candidate to receive a plurality of Electoral College vote and a plurality of the popular vote and still not come away with the presidency,” says Alexander.

READ MORE: Why Andrew Jackson Legacy Is Controversial


What Happens if the Presidential Election Is a Tie?

Suppose President Obama wins all of the electoral votes from (1) all of the Northeastern states except New Hampshire (2) Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Virginia (3) all of the states that border on the Pacific Ocean except Alaska and (4) New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. Assume also that Governor Romney wins all of the electoral votes in the remaining 30 states. The results? A 269 to 269 tie, in terms of electoral votes.

If, when the electors vote on December 17, each elector casts his or her ballot for the candidate each supported, the failure of any candidate to achieve a majority of the votes would be certified on January 6 by the President of the United States Senate, who is, of course, Vice President Joe Biden.

Under the terms of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the newly elected House of Representatives, which took office on January 3, will then vote to elect a President. Under the 12th Amendment, Congress is required to choose from the three candidates with the highest total of electoral votes from among those receiving electoral votes. Since under this scenario, only Romney and Obama receive electoral votes, the House would have to choose either Romney or Obama.

Under the terms of the Amendment, each state has a single vote, which is determined by how a majority of that state’s Representatives vote. This means that both Alaska and California would have the same one vote, and 26 votes would be necessary to elect a president.

Because of the 20th Amendment (adopted in 1933), those who vote would be the individuals who were elected to the House of Representatives in November 2012. Unlike the situation in 1800 and 1824, the only two times that the House has actually selected the president, the outgoing Congress no longer chooses the President.

Were the current members of the House of Representative voting, the line-up of Republicans and Democrats would clearly favor Gov. Romney, since the Republican Party currently controls 33 state delegations in the House compared to 15 by the Democrats, with two states evenly divided. Although anything can happen in November’s election, it seems unlikely that the Republican Party will control fewer than 26 state delegations in the new Congress.

The 12th Amendment also contains a quorum requirement that dictates that representatives from at least two thirds of the states (currently 34 states) have to be present and voting for the election to be valid. In theory, one political party could prevent the election of a president by boycotting the House vote, but that strategy would work only if the boycotting party included in its ranks the entire Congressional delegations of 17 states.

That is unlikely to happen in the current Congress, the Republicans unanimously control only 9 state delegations and the Democrats only 7. Hence, if all the House Democrats were to boycott the election, Romney would be elected by a vote of 43 states to none. Similarly, if all the Republicans were to absent themselves from the House chamber, Obama would win by a vote of 41-0. In either case, the quorum requirement would be met.

While the House of Representatives is choosing the new President, the Senate is charged by the 12th Amendment with electing the Vice-President from the top two finishers. In this election, each Senator gets one vote (and thus, unlike in the House, there is no direct voting by state). The current Senate line-up of 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and 2 (Democrat-leaning) independents would point toward the election of Joe Biden over Paul Ryan. Of course, that balance could change as a result of the November 2012 elections.

If by chance the vote splits 50 to 50 between the two candidates, Senate President Joe Biden (who will still be Vice President until January 20, 2013, no matter what happens in the fall election) could then vote (presumably for himself) to break the tie. If the House proved unable to elect a new president by January 20, the new Vice-President would assume the office of President until the House finally made a decision.

It is, however, possible that a 269-269 deadlock on November 6 could be broken before the ballots are counted on January 6, if either an Obama or Romney elector were to decide to cast his or her vote for the other candidate.

Can electors do that? The short answer is yes. Although electors pledge to vote for the candidate that they are listed as supporting on state ballots, nothing in the Constitution requires them to cast their vote consistent with their listing on the November ballot.

Although 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws that appear to require electors to vote for the candidates for which they are pledged, only a minority of these states impose a penalty on electors who vote for other candidates, and only the Michigan and Utah statutes purport to nullify the stray vote and provide for the appointment of a replacement elector. Moreover, it is widely believed by constitutional scholars that such state laws are an unconstitutional interference with the federal election process.

Wisconsin is among the states that have such a statute, which can be found at Wis. Stat. § 7.75. This statute provides only that electors are required to vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged unless the candidate is deceased at the time of the vote or that both the president and vice-president are residents of Wisconsin. (The 12th Amendment prohibits electors from casting both their votes for candidates from their own state.) The Wisconsin statute, however, imposes no specific penalty on an elector who violates the terms of § 7.75. Some jurisdictions do impose fines on disloyal electors, and in a few states, the departure is treated as a criminal offense.

This phenomenon—electors casting ballots for candidates other than the one to whom they pledged their support–has happened more frequently in the past than most Americans realize. In 18 of the 55 United States Presidential elections since 1789, at least one elector has either cast a vote for a Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate to which he was pledged or else refused to cast his or her vote altogether.

The mid-twentieth century was a time when electors acted independently with particular frequency. In the eight Presidential elections between 1948 and 1976, defecting electors cast ballots in six different elections.

Even though disloyal electors have been a somewhat regular occurrence, there is very little evidence that electors who have voted for someone other than the candidate to whom they are pledged have done so because they were trying to help a different major candidate secure election.

The only example of an elector doing this came in 1796, when the Constitution’s original plan for the Electoral College was still in effect. Under the original Article II of the Constitution, there was no separate balloting for President and Vice-President. Instead, each elector cast two votes, and the candidate with the largest number of votes became the President and the runner-up became the Vice-President, so long as their vote totals were equal to a majority of the number of electors voting.

(Otherwise, the House would choose the President from the five top vote getters, and after a president was chosen, the losing candidate with the largest number of electoral votes would become Vice-President. There were also provisions that allowed the House and Senate to select a President or a Vice-Present when two candidates tied for the most electoral votes. That, of course, is what happened in the 1800 election.)

In 1796, Samuel Myles, a Federalist elector from Pennsylvania, cast one of his two votes for the Democratic-Republican presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson and apparently did not vote for his own party’s principal candidate, John Adams. Myles’ betrayal of his constituents didn’t end up making a difference as Adams was elected President anyway.

However, Adams’ margin of victory over Jefferson was only three electoral votes, so it is easy to imagine a scenario where Myles’ vote could have made a difference. (Jefferson, as runner-up in the presidential election, became the Vice-President.)

The most common reason from casting a vote for a different candidate appears to have been a desire to express disapproval of the elector’s own party’s choice of a candidate for either President or Vice-President. In nine different elections�, 1812, 1828, 1832, 1836, 1896, 1956, 1976, and 1988—one or more electors voted for a different member of their political party, rather than the party’s official candidate.

On two occasions, 1832 and 2000, electors simply abstained from voting for their party’s candidate (or anyone else). In 1820, William Plumer, a Democrat-Republican elector from New Hampshire, declined to vote for his party’s candidates, incumbent President James Monroe and Vice-President Daniel Tompkins. Plumer instead voted for his friend, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams for President and United States Ambassador to Britain, William Rush as Vice-President, even though neither Adams nor Rush were candidates for those offices. Although Plumer later claimed that he did this so as to ensure that George Washington remained the only man unanimously elected President of the United States, it seems more likely that the former Federalist Plumer was dissatisfied with the continuation of the so-called “Virginia Dynasty” through which the Democrat-Republicans had controlled the presidency since 1801, and instead cast his votes for his fellow former Federalists, Adams and Rush.

In two elections, deviations resulted from the deaths of candidates for President (Horace Greely in 1872) or Vice-President (James Sherman in 1912) after the November election but before the day of the Electoral College vote. (A majority of electors still cast their votes for the deceased candidates in both elections. Both Greeley and Sherman lost their respective elections, so the actual division of their votes was unimportant.)

The variety of motives of dissenting electors can be seen in the elections since 1948. That year, elector Preston Parks of Tennessee cast his electoral vote for South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a fellow conservative Southern Democrat, who had announced his candidacy for the Presidency under the banner of the National States Rights Party. (Parks had already been appointed a Democratic elector before Thurmond announced his third party candidacy, and Thurmond did carry several Southern states.)

Similarly, in 1956, Democratic elector W. F. Turner of Alabama cast his vote for a personal friend Walter Jones, who was an Alabama Circuit Court judge for President and Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge as Vice-President, as a way of protesting the supposed liberalism of Democratic Party nominees, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

In 1960, Oklahoma Republican elector Henry D. Irwin cast his ballot for Sen. Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who was otherwise not a candidate, to protest his dislike of Richard Nixon. (A number of Democratic electors from the South, who were elected as “uncommitted” Democratics, also voted for Byrd, a prominent conservative Democrat.)

In 1972, Roger MacBride, a Virginia elector, cast his Republican ballot for the Libertarian candidate John Hospers, apparently in protest of the economic policies of the Nixon Administration. In 1976, Mike Padden, a Republican elector from Washington State, cast his ballot for Ronald Reagan, instead of his party’s nominee, Gerald Ford, apparently to express his belief that the Republican Party might have won the 1976 election had it nominated Reagan rather than Ford.

In 1988, Margaret Lynch, a Democratic elector from West Virginia, switched her votes so that she voted for Vice-Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen for President and Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis for Vice-President. Lynch’s effort was apparently intended to express her dissatisfaction with Dukakis as a candidate. Finally, in 2000, Democratic Elector Barbara Lett-Simmon of the District of Columbia refused to cast her ballot for anyone, as a form of protest over the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore which effectively awarded the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush.

Except for the example of Samuel Myles back in 1796, none of the other elections shed much light on what might happen to break a 269-269 deadlock in 2012. Of course, an elector that decided to vote for someone other than Romney or Obama would not change the outcome. For example, if a Republican elector from Florida decided to cast his vote for Mario Rubio, rather than Romney, Obama would have one more electoral vote than Romney, but he would still lack a majority of the votes, so the election would still go to the House of Representatives, which could now choose between Obama, Romney, and Rubio.

What, if anything, might prompt an Obama or Romney elector in 2012 to switch his or her vote to the other candidate?

One possibility is that an elector might feel that the candidate who received the largest percentage of the popular vote should be president, especially if the gap between the two candidates was more than one or two percentage points. So, for example, if Romney received 53% of the popular vote and Obama received only 46%, with 1% going to minor party candidates, an Obama elector might feel obligated to vote for Romney. Most likely, much of the public would herald such a decision (especially the 53% of the population that voted for Romney).

Another possibility is that some sort of backdoor political deal might be arranged so that an individual elector or his or her state might benefit by the vote switch, although this would have to be done quite delicately in order to avoid a public relations disaster of the first order. Americans would not take kindly to the idea that the presidency had been purchased.

Is any of this likely to happen in 2012? Probably not, but in less than a week we will know for sure.


What Happens if the Presidential Election Ends Up in a Tie?

In a few hours, the 2020 presidential election will be over and voters will be waiting to hear the final result of a tumultuous and long election cycle. In the week leading up to Election Day, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden were traveling the country speaking to voters in a last-ditch effort to win the presidency.

Early-voting numbers reached record-breaking levels, with more than 99 million Americans casting their votes before November 3. Even still, it could take days for Americans to know who won the race for president after accounting for both in-person and mail-in votes. Though, in swing states such as Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, votes are expected to be counted that night or shortly after, Vox reports. Of course, it is not simply the amount of people who have voted that makes the difference in the end, it is the Electoral College that matters most.

While it might seem hard to believe that there could ever be a tie in a presidential election, it did happen in the year 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. This was only the fourth election in American history, and when officials went to tally up the vote, both candidates had received 73 electoral votes. Now, as the country has grown, there are a total of 538 electors&mdashmeaning each candidate needs 270 or more to win an election.

So, what happens if a tie occurs? In 1800, the government looked to the Constitution, which has a plan for the event of a tie. "[I]f there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by Ballot one of them for President."

In 1800, it took quite a while for the House of Representatives to come to an agreement. In fact, the House deadlocked 36 times before eventually electing Thomas Jefferson as the winner, according to History.com.

Fast-forward to today, if after all votes are counted after November 3 and there is a tie, the decision would still be left up to the House of Representatives. To decide, each state's delegation would cast a single vote to determine which candidate has the majority of support.

As of October 30, FiveThirtyEight says Joe Biden is favored to win the election based on both national and state polls. But, with as many twists and turns as this year has offered, it is hard to say what exactly will happen come November 3 and the days that follow.


If there is a tie, the vote goes to the House of Representatives to choose the President, or to the Senate to choose the Vice President. This is called a Contingent Election. There is no runoff election or re-vote.

The United States is a bit peculiar in this regard. The 12th Amendment to the Constitution specifies that Electors cast two ballots one for President, and one for Vice President. Technically speaking, the two candidates do not have to be from the same party, nor do they even have to be on the same ticket (though in practice, they always run together and are elected together).

Additionally, the Constitution requires that a candidate get an absolute majority of electoral votes, which is currently 270. If no candidate gets at least 270 votes, a continent election is held in Congress even is there was no tie.

This has only happened 3 times in U.S. history:

  1. The election of 1800 in which Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for President. Thomas Jefferson was elected by a House contingent election. It took 36 ballots to break the tie.
  2. The election of 1824 where Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in a House contingent election, even though Jackson won both the popular and electoral votes.
  3. The election of 1836 where Richard Mentor Johnson (Martin van Buren's vice president) failed to get a majority of electoral votes, but won the Senate contingent election.

If a continent election is held for President, and no candidate receives a majority in the House, they keep casting ballots until the deadlock is broken. This happened in 1800 when 36 ballots had to be cast before Thomas Jefferson emerged with the needed votes.

If, after carrying multiple ballots the House still can't reach a decision by March 4th, the elected Vice President becomes President. There is no deadline for the Senate in voting for Vice President, since the Senate can't really be deadlocked (the outgoing VP would cast the tie-breaking vote). Although if there were no outgoing VP (like if he had resigned just before the election), or there were a tight race between three candidates with none receiving a majority, then they could theoretically be deadlocked.

If by some crazy fluke both the House and the Senate are both deadlocked by the March 4th deadline, the Supreme Court would likely have to get involved, since the Constitution doesn't deal with this scenario. Presumably they would rule that the 25th Amendment applies and would follow the line of succession, beginning with the Speaker of the House to fill the Presidency.


  • On the face of it, a tiebreaker in the House would appear to favour the Democratic candidate since the Democrats continue to enjoy a slight majority there

Its been three days since the US elections took place and we're still yet to determine a winner. The election has turned out to be a nail-biter with President Trump running Democratic candidate Joe Biden down to the wire.

As it stands, the results will all come down to the four key battleground states of Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and North Carolina where vote-counting is still underway. Trump enjoys a slim lead in three of those states but with 264 electoral college votes all but assured for Biden, a win in just one of those states will see President Trump's fate sealed as a single-term president.

So at this point, there is essentially no chance of a tie in the electoral college vote. Nevertheless, for the sole purpose of satisfying one's intellectual curiosity, it's worth looking at what would take place if that eventuality did arise. An electoral college tie would mean that both President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden receive exactly 269 electoral college votes each. If this happens, the responsibility of selecting a winning candidate will fall on the newly-elected US House of Representatives.

On the face of it, a tiebreaker in the House would appear to favour the Democratic candidate since the Democrats continue to enjoy a slight majority there. However, even with a House minority, the Republicans would be in the driving seat.

This is because not every representative in the House gets to vote. Representatives from a single state are required to nominate one single member to issue a vote. Each state is only allowed a single vote, and the winning candidate only needs to gain 26 out of the possible 50 votes. The Republicans, as it stands, have a larger majority in a greater number of states than the Democrats do, meaning that the likelihood of President Trump winning a second term is high.

As for the vice president, it is the Senate which is charged with picking the candidate. Under the assumption that the Republicans manage to retain control of the Senate &ndash a probable scenario &ndash President Trump's current vice president Mike Pence would make the cut.


What Happens If A Presidential Election Ends In A Tie?

Additionally, Clinton won in six tied precincts by way of a coin toss Such a close start to the race made us want to know what would happen if this trend made it all the way to election day What would happen if two presidential candidates tied? Well, while this may seem unlikely, it is actually easier than many people think The reason is that the US population does not actually elect their president, but rather, state representatives do via the electoral college Basically, each state has a given number of “electors”, which vary based on the population of that state

In total there are 538 electors Some very populated states like California wield 55 electoral votes, while sparser states like Alaska only have 3 Moreover, if a candidate gets even slightly more votes in a state, they get ALL of that state’s electoral votes This basic process is written into Article Two of the US Constitution So, has this ever led to a tie? Yup, in 1800

At the time there were fewer states, fewer people, and an odd rule where the winner of the election became president, and the second runner up became vice president That’d be a little awkward today When the results came out, both Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr had received 73 electoral votes each To break the tie, the House of Representatives voted amongst themselves, and eventually crowned Jefferson the third President This unprecedented situation led to the twelfth amendment, which changed both the way presidents and vice presidents are picked, as well as the procedure in case of a tie

The biggest difference the 12th amendment brought was that when the House would vote on a tie for President, instead of states having a proportional number of votes, each state would only get one vote So now, California’s nearly 39-million-person population equaled Wyoming’s 580,000 in representation But even if there isn’t a tie, a close race can still be difficult In the 2000 election between George W Bush and Al Gore, both candidates were short just a few electoral votes necessary to win

The final state which would decide the race was Florida, with 25 electoral votes Florida’s tally showed a difference of less than 1000 individual votes, pushing Gore to demand a recount of several important counties However, the Supreme Court overruled the recount as unconstitutional, and reverted the election to Bush It also brought about one of the strongest arguments against the electoral college Despite winning the largest number of electoral votes by a margin of just 537 individual votes in Florida, Bush actually got half a million fewer votes in the overall election than Gore

To this day this election is one of the most contentious in US history In the end, an actual tie, or even getting close to a tie, would lead to some fairly non-democratic solutions Although, perhaps that’s not entirely surprising The United States is, by definition, not a true democracy, but in fact, a constitutional republic Wait, what? America isn’t a democracy? What does that mean? What exactly is a constitutional republic? Well, you can find out by watching this video all about American Democracy

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Does Trump win an Electoral College Tie?

Check my math, but it looks like there is a significant majority of states with majority Republican House delegations. Just looking at “red states vs. blue states”, there are 28 states for Trump and 22 states for Biden, including the District of Columbia. This does not account for a split Maine. This also does not account for so-called “faithless” electors, who do not vote as their state directs.

A tie like this and a subsequent House vote have occurred three times in American history:

  • 1800, Thomas Jefferson
  • 1824, Andrew Jackson losing to John Quincy Adams
  • 1836, Virginia electors refused to vote for Martin Van Buren’s VP Richard Johnson, forcing a contingent election in the Senate for V

What do you think is going to happen? Comment below with your prognostications.


What happens if the US election is a tie between Trump and Biden?

Messy election — but a 269-269 Electoral College split is no longer mathematically possible.

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No US presidential election in modern times has ended in a tie, but with projections of a tight race and potentially days of vote counting still to come, fears were raised of a potential stalemate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

While Mr Trump and Mr Biden's names may be on the ballots that millions of Americans have filled in over the last few weeks, voters in the US do not directly elect their president.

Instead, the individual votes in a state are typically reflected in votes cast by electors in the Electoral College, with an outright majority of 270 votes needed to win the seat in the White House.

In the event of a drawn result, the newly elected House of Representatives would choose the president, with each state delegation having one vote. A simple majority of states, equivalent to 26 votes or more, would be needed to win.

By Friday, Biden’s lead had stretched to 264-214.

The remaining Electoral College votes leave several routes for either candidate to win the election – but is there still the possibility of a 269-269 tie?

If Mr Biden wins Nevada, which was won by then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, then together with his gains in Michigan and Wisconsin he would end up with the 270 votes.

Mr Biden would also win if he won any of the other states that still hang in the balance.

Mr Trump could secure four more years in the Oval Office by winning Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia.

These combined votes, together with Alaska, would put the current President at 274 votes following his victories in the populous states of Florida and Texas, though it would be a much narrower victory than his 306 votes in 2016.

Mr Biden’s win in Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, which carries a single Electoral College vote, means the possibility of a 269-269 split is now mathematically impossible.

But that does not mean a simple victory for either candidate is assured.

The 2020 election is taking place in significantly different circumstances than four years ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with millions voting early or via post.

It is feared that some states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada, may not report full results for potentially days.

The situation is further complicated because even if one candidate wins 270 votes, their path to the White House could still face problems.

While many states have laws requiring electors in the Electoral College to vote in the way that corresponds with the popular vote of the state, others can vote contrary to the public's decision.

These voters, known as faithless electors, could tip the balance if the winner has a tight margin when they vote on 14 December.

Faithless electors have been seen in some elections, including in 2016 when the results at a state level were 304 to 227 in favour of Mr Trump, despite the results being 306-232 at state level.

However, these votes are rare, as electors are typically loyal members of their respective parties, and it is very likely that such a move which alters the result would be challenged.

The only thing that is certain for now, is that a tie for the US presidency can be definitively ruled out.


What would the Electoral Map Look Like If Romney and Obama Tied?

If you look at the map below, you'll realize, it isn't out of the realm out of possibility, and I created this tie only using states that are legitimately considered swing states.

The main swing states to consider are Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire. These were the only states that I was willing to alter. While there are a myriad of ways to create a tie in the electoral college, this is one of the only ones that creates a legitimate scenario where this could happen.

For it to work out, Romney would need to win the big states in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. The first three of which, he should win based on recent polling. Ohio is showing mixed signals for the state as one day he's up and the other day he's down. Essentially it is a tie in Ohio. But for the sake of this argument it, we're assuming it goes for Romney.

Now if Romney was told before the election that he'd win FL, OH, NC, and VA, he'd pretty much assume that he won the election. So what gives? Hold on. we'll get to that in a bit.

New Hampshire and Colorado has also begun to trend Republican, so that can logically fit in the Romney category as well.

But that is where it ends for Romney. Obama ends up taking the states he was was expected to take coming into this election with Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Nevada has tightened up quite a bit latet in Mitt's favor, but for the purposes of this article, not quite enough. Iowa is another toss up, where similar to the Ohio situation, it depends roughly on what poll you are looking at for who is winning/losing. But there's plenty of polling data out there that says Obama hasn't quite lost his grip on this state. yet. So we'll keep it blue.

That leaves us with one state to consider, and that is the "Show Me State" of Missouri.

This state has been considered to have one of the most accurate and diverse make-ups of any state in the union as it is a near reflection of United States' general population in terms of race and gender. Except for 2008, no President has ever one an election without carrying this state.

Right now it is trending Republican and some are starting to shift it from Toss-up to Lean Republican, and while I do believe that it will ultimately go red, all that it takes is for a poor turnout in one segment of its population and a surge in another, and you could have Missouri in play.

And in the case that Missouri goes for Obama, and everything else I laid out comes to fruition, then you have your electoral map tie. Not at all, out of the realm of possibility.

Another scenario, which I find has less appeal is where Nevada, FL, NC, OH and NH goes for Romney, but CO, VA, WI and MI goes for Obama. This might seem a more likely scenario, but the likelihood that Nevada goes red but not Colorado, and Virginia goes blue but not Ohio, seems far more unlikely than a one state surprise in Missouri going into the Democrat's column. But you are free to disagree.

What Happens If the Electoral College Ends In a Tie

While it would seem like a crisis, and it would based on the fact that much of society is unfamiliar with our Constitution and the provisions it lays out for such a scenario, the House would be called upon to vote for President, and the Senate would be required to name the Vice President, aassuming the electoral college ratifies the 269-269 tie (trust me, trying to get one of these electors when they meet on the second Wednesday in December to change is like trying to get Barney Frank to switch to the GOP - it isn't happening).

On the surface this may seem odd, but since the President of the Senate is the Vice President, it makes since that they would choose the VP, while the House, in which each member represents a smaller segment of society, would provide a deeper vote (435 votes in the House vs. 100 in the Senate) for who becomes President.

In this case, you would have Mitt Romney your President and Joe Biden your Vice President.

I guess you could say late-night commedy would get much more interesting.


US election 2020: The presidential race could end in a tie - so what happens next?

As voters awaited the results of a tight US presidential race, questions have been raised about the possibility of a tie.

Wednesday 4 November 2020 09:36, UK

After a night of gripping results in which each candidate ran neck-and-neck in tight races, the final result of the US election is unlikely to be known for many hours or even days.

As voters await the results of the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, questions have been raised about the possibility of a tie.

But could a tie really take place and what would happen then? Sky News explains.

How are the votes counted?

All 50 states have a central election authority, but the ballots are processed by dozens of separate county or municipal election offices.

Most require a signature and witness but some states allow voters to get around this by signing an affidavit. How that is applied can be decided on a local level, and how far officials go to contact the voter is up to them.

Republicans and Democrats have begun legal action in key states to try and extend mail-voting deadlines, or to cut them back.

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Why might there be a delay in the result?

In many states - including battleground states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina - officials will count ballots that arrive after 3 November, as long as they are postmarked by election day.

But whether or not the ballots are counted depends on how local election workers enforce rules, notify voters and whether they allow errors to be fixed.

A close count in key battleground states could even result in litigation over voting and ballot counting procedures.

Analysis: The chance of this election heading to court is high

Could there be a tie for the presidency?

With there being an even number of electoral votes, this is a possibility.

After a flurry of states reported their results during the early hours of Thursday, Mr Biden was on 220 votes, compared to Mr Trump's 213, as of 6.40am.

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The remaining Electoral College votes leave several routes for either candidate to win the election - or for the poll to end in a tie.

If Mr Biden wins all the states won by then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, and gains Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, both he and Mr Trump would end up on 269 votes.

A tie would also arise if Mr Biden wins everything that Mrs Clinton did, plus Michigan and Pennsylvania - after he won one of Nebraska's five electoral votes.

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What happens if the result is a tie?

The newly-elected House of Representatives would choose the president, while the Senate would be tasked with choosing the vice president.

The Constitution's 12th Amendment, which spells out how the president and the vice president are elected, stipulates that the House vote for president be taken according to state delegations - as in one vote per state.

A simple majority of states, equivalent to 26 votes or more, would be needed to win.

A tie has not been seen in modern times but the process was implemented in the 1800s, including in the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

A simple guide to the US election

What happened the last time the result wasn't clear?

In 2000, George W Bush was only confirmed as the winner of the election following a Supreme Court ruling a month after the election, following a number of recounts. The state had been called for both Mr Bush and Al Gore at various points.

In the end, Mr Bush prevailed over Mr Gore by just 537 votes in Florida. That is the only time the court has decided the outcome of a US presidential election.

Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation as a Supreme Court justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created a 6-3 conservative majority in America's highest court, which could favour Mr Trump if it is required to weigh in on a contested election.

How the US election is being won

Will it all end up in court this time?

Mr Trump has claimed the result of the 2020 election could be settled by the Supreme Court but Mr Biden has said he will accept the result.

The incumbent has alleged "a fraud on the American public" and told supporters that he would take it to the Supreme Court.

Both sides have assembled vast legal teams to advise the two campaign teams on potential challenges, particularly in the key swing states.

The Democrats have warned for months that Mr Trump will try to "steal" the election by challenging results in the battleground states on voter fraud claims - and Mr Trump has thrown the allegation back at the Democrats in a tweet.