What Would Happen if the Election Was Tied? 🔵 🔴
The world is watching on as the United States is just hours away from finding out who their next president will be. Will Donald Trump come up trumps again and manage to secure a second term? Or will favourite Joe Biden become the fresh blood in the Oval Office?
Or…perhaps we won’t know for days—even weeks–who has won. Given what a crazy year 2020 has been, one should not rule anything out.
There is another possibility I wanted to focus on though, and that is the chance of a tied election.
What would happen?
Firstly, each state that makes up the Electoral College is assigned a set number of electors based on its population. These total up to 538 votes, with the winning candidate needing to amass a minimum of 270 to be declared the winner.
In the event of a 269–269 Electoral College tie, the decision would be passed over to the House of Representatives—in what’s called a contingent election. Each state’s delegates would decide as a collective unit, with each being worth one vote. The winning candidate would need to pick up a minimum of 26 votes.
Using my US election simulator, I have been constructing various scenarios based on polling data. It is certainly possible to come up with a handful of plausible outlooks that would result in deadlock.
Trump wins most of the key states he won in 2016, but loses Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona.
Trump loses Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nebraska’s second congressional district, but holds on to every other 2016 winning state.
Trump loses Arizona and Pennsylvania, but picks up New Hampshire and Nevada. It could all come down to one of Maine and Nebraska’s congressional districts— each worth just a single vote.
There you have it. This is purely hypothetical and I don’t expect any of these scenarios to actually happen. But it really could take just three states changing hands to level everything up, forcing the House of Representatives to make a decision. If that did occur, it would favour the Republicans, as either of these three scenarios would still give them a narrow majority.
We await with interest.