Essay:Electoral college 269-269 tie

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I didn't want to put this into mainspace. Unlike what is typical of essays, feel free to edit. If it starts to look like it could become a mainspace article, don't hesitate to move it.


I hadn't thought much of the possibility of a 269-269 tie in the electoral college for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. That was until I clicked the 269-269 tie option on the CNN electoral map calcualtor. Looking at the Red state vs. Blue state division of that map, I find it to be by no means implausible.

Things to consider[edit]

John McCain[edit]

Minnesota and Wisconsin seem to be scary possibilities for McCain. McCain is also quite plausible in Pennsylvania.[1]

Barack Obama[edit]

Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado all seem to be distinct possibilities for Obama. Bob Barr, the Libertarian cadidate, could really throw a monkey-wrench into the works in Georgia.

What happens if there is a tie?[edit]

It seems rather confusing, but the Vice-president is elected by the senate and the President by the house. The senate is a straight up/down vote, but the house is peculiar. Each state gets one vote for President, how that vote is cast is determined by all the members of the house for each state voting on who they want. The winner is the one vote cast. To be elected President you must get a majority vote, if certain states are unable to arrive at a vote and neither candidate gets over fifty percent than the Vice-president serves as President until such a time as the house can elect a President. If the senate ties and no Vice-president or President is selected than the house speaker becomes President. That is how Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman president.

More realistically, if there is a tie at least one elector will probably become "faithless" and cast their electoral vote for the other person. However, it should be noted that while there have been multiple cases of a "faithless elector" in history they have never been a deciding factor in a race. Twenty-four states have laws that make such an act illegal, though no one has ever been prosecuted under any such statute.

More information[edit]


  1. Painful as it is to think about for the original author (a native Pennsylvanian) of this essay.