An Electoral College Tie?

The presidential race is neck and neck. What if the electoral vote ends in a tie? We’ll go deep on what would happen next.

This map shows one of several possible scenarios that would result in a tie of the Electoral College.

This map shows one of several possible scenarios that would result in a tie of the Electoral College.

Half the country’s eye, fixed on Hurricane Sandy today.  A massive storm.  An extreme and unusual event.  Depending how it hits, what it disrupts, Sandy may get the single biggest vote in next week’s presidential election.  But it’s not the only extreme and unusual possible event out there.

Come Election Day, vote counters say, there is a remote but real chance of a tie in the Electoral College in this presidential election.  We all hope it doesn’t happen.  But if it does, what will happen?

This hour, On Point:  Imagining a tie, and its aftermath, in the race for the White House.

-Tom Ashbrook


Peter Baker, reporter for the New York Times.

Amy Walter, ABC News Political Director.

Robert Alexander, chair of the department of History, Politics, and Justice at Ohio Northern University. Author of Presidential Electors and the Electoral College: An Examination of Lobbying, Wavering Electors, and Campaigns for Faithless Votes.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Most polls at this moment suggest GOP nominee Mitt Romney is in the lead nationally, but surveys in the nine or so swing states are registering a narrow advantage for President Obama.”

Sabato’s Crystal Ball “While it has been a topsy-turvy race, it’s also been one without particularly commanding heights or punishing valleys. Since April 10 — when Romney effectively clinched the nomination — he has never topped 48% in the RCP average and never dipped below 43%; Obama has never exceeded 49.5% and never gone below 45.4%. That points to a pretty stable and polarized electorate.”

The New York Times “As of Monday’s FiveThirtyEight forecast, there were 21 states that Barack Obama was projected to have at least an 85 percent chance of winning on Nov. 6. The list includes three important states, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, where Mr. Obama’s polling has improved by an especially clear margin since the Democratic convention. It did not include several others, however, where he is favored, but less definitively so, such as Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and Florida.”

Yahoo News “If there is a tie in the electoral college (and, as I explain below, there could be), it will be up to the newly elected House of Representatives to elect a President and the newly elected Senate to elect the Vice President.”


Here’s a short video explaining what happens if both candidates secure 269 Electoral College votes, resulting in a likely Romney-Biden administration.

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