by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Talk of an Electoral College tie between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is growing as election results show a tight race between the candidates. …
… A candidate needs 270 electoral votes of 538 to win the White House.
A tie would likely leave the fate of the presidency in the hands of the House, where representatives in each state would form a delegation. Should no electors go rogue when they meet in December, each state delegation would cast a single vote for president in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
Though Democrats control a majority in the House, Republicans control a majority of states, 26 precisely. This means Democrats would have to convince one state delegation to vote against the Republican incumbent. The only state with a divided delegation is Pennsylvania, consisting of nine Democrats and nine Republicans.
The House will continue voting until a majority of state delegations reaches a conclusion. Should they fail to determine a winner by Inauguration Day, the vice president determined by the Senate will serve as acting president until the House makes a determination. Each senator casts one vote for vice president, and if Democrats manage to earn a majority, the presumptive victor would be California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Should there be a failure to reach 270, it would be the first time since the early 19th century that a candidate was unable to secure a majority of Electoral College votes.
The scenario reminds us of the importance of knowing the rules of the electoral game, including the important role the Electoral College plays in our constitutional system of government.
[T]he basic two-party arrangement we take for granted exists only because of the Electoral College. To win the presidency, a candidate has to appeal to people across the country. A nationwide coalition is essential to gaining a majority in the Electoral College. A narrow sectional or special-interest base simply won’t cut it. That’s why our parties are collections of many diverse interests and backgrounds, reflecting the character of this continental nation whose citizens, or forebears, have come from all corners of the world and reflect a wide array of cultures and beliefs.