What If the Electoral College is Tied?

What If the Electoral College is Tied?


The United States, picks its president with
the Electoral College, 538 votes distributed by population (mostly) to the 50 States and
DC. To become president you need to win a majority of those votes. But, 538 is an even
number, so what happens when the race for president is tied? Don’t worry, there’s an 18th century solution
to the problem: if the Electoral College is tied, the House of Representatives breaks
that tie. As the name implies, the House is filled with
representatives from each of the states. The more people in a state, the more Representatives
it has and their are 435 in total — thankfully an odd number and guaranteed tie breaker…
except there’s a catch: each representative doesn’t get one vote, it’s each *State* that
gets one vote. So, Florida’s 27 representatives have to decided amongst themselves who to
support before casting Florida’s one vote to help break the tie. Meanwhile, thinly-populated Alaska’s sole
representative, has only to consult himself before casting Alaska’s vote. This is an incredibly disproportionate system
because just ten states, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina contain more than half the population of the
United States but get only 20% of the votes if the race for president is tied and the
other 40 states with less than half the population get 80% of the votes. While an exact tie is unlikely, this system
is also used if they’re more than two candidates for president and none of them gets a majority
in the Electoral College. Which is exactly what happened when four candidates
ran for president in 1824. Andrew Jackson got the most votes from Americans and the
most votes in the Electoral College, but not a majority, so the race was turned over to
the House of Representatives voting as states who picked John Quiny Adams instead. In a modern America with more states a three-way
race can have horrifically disproportionate results: consider a third-party candidate
who the loves the small states and who the small states love in return. He gets the fewest Electoral College votes,
but enough to ensure that neither of the two more popular candidates get a majority so
now the House decides the winner — and those 26 smallest states representing just 17% of
the population can pick their man as president even though 83% of Americans didn’t vote for
him. It’s unlikely, but it really shouldn’t even
be possible. Anyway, all this talk of presidents has left
the Vice President unmentioned: a reasonable person might assume, just comes along with
the President, but no. When there’s a tie the *Senate* independently
picks the Vice President so the United States, could end up with a President from one party
and with a Vice President from the another, which might make for some very uncomfortable
meetings. But even this crazy system for resolving a
tie isn’t guaranteed to work because are 100 members of the senate and in the House of
Representatives they’re forced to vote as 50 states and many of those states have10
or 8 representatives making the whole system tie-tackular with all of those even numbers. So if the House can’t pick the president but
the Senate has picked the Vice President then the Vice President becomes acting president
until the House can make up its mind. But if neither the House can pick the president
nor the Senate can decide the Vice President then the speaker of the House becomes president
until either branch of congress picks *someone*. So this systems is how the United States would
resolve a tied race for president, though it might be faster (and more fair) to just
flip a coin. Of course you could just get rid of the electoral
college, and thus this whole crazy system, and instead have a national vote, perhaps
even with something fancy like preferential voting, maybe that’s just a crazy idea.

100 thoughts on “What If the Electoral College is Tied?

  1. It’s disportionate cause we’re a republic not a democracy. It doesn’t go by numbers. The reasons for the electoral college in the first place is to cancel out mob rule and the minority has a say in whos the president. Everyone wants to turn us into a democracy which is exactly what the the founding fathers didn’t want cause democracy destory themselves. In a republic minority and the majority are both equal. Democracy is just two and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. Look up that video and it’ll explain why democracies ultimately fail and turn into a monarchy.

  2. More fair to flip a coin when it's a 3 way tie? No. Have each candidate pick 2 unique numbers between 1 and 6 inclusive and roll 1d6.
    4 candidates? 1d4.
    5 candidates, same as 3 candidates but roll 1d10.
    7 candidates? Eeny-meanie to kick one out then roll 1d6.

  3. I love our current system, a national popular vote is a horrible system. Those states with 80% voting capacity would have 0% voting capacity in a national popular vote. this system gives them power that a popular vote would deny entirely. Then candidates would only have to appeal to only California and New York to win presidency and F**K those guys in the middle, right?

  4. I know I’m years late but this was in my recommended, despite being disproportionate population-wise I believe that’s working as intended. The USA is a union. of. states and the system works as it does because 1 or 2 states shouldn’t dominate the other 50. This all depends on whether you think that whats “proportional” is population or states. The states with the largest populations are the coastal, wealthy, and politically aligned. Who’s going to speak for the smaller states of the population of the others dominates the conversation?

  5. It's perfectly fine and by design that it is "disperportionate" to population there. This is the UNITED STATES. State power is a thing. Presumably, the reps would vote for who the majority in their state voted for (if they were not corrupt ***holes not doing their job) as that would literally represent the desires of their state. SO: If the votes in EC, distributed largely by population, does not declair a victor, that tie would be broken presumably by who won the most states itself, not distributed by population.

    Make sense now?
    A union of states.

  6. Preferential voting good… eliminate "spoiler vote" that creates the natural resting point of 2 party system.

    Popular vote… bad. Ignores state power. We are a nation of states. Individual states. There is good reason for that. Stop being ignorant of it.

  7. If theirs a electoral college tie, this is how they should do it.
    To make it easier let’s just do what it currently looks like.
    House 235-200 Democratic Majority. 26 Republican states, 23 Democratic states, 1 split.
    First abolish gerrymandering.
    If not for that, Democrats alone would hold a 27-23 delegation majority instead instead of a 23-26 minority. But to make it more fair, instead of a delegation, it be by popular vote. So who ever won the popular vote wins. But if the popular vote is too close, like less than say a couple million votes, than the House should have a direct vote. I love our constitution, but some of it is out dated.

  8. Imagine just actually letting the population vote rather than states since it’s clearly bringing such a problem.

  9. The whole "states get votes" is rubbish. What happened to one person one vote. Just give it to the person who most people want in an instant run-off preference ranked voting mechanism. Its soo simple!

  10. They engineered the system to have as many baffles in between the people and office of the presidency as possible. "No, you don't know best, we do."

  11. What they should do, instead, is simply "Popular Vote Wins" in the event of a tie. That way, the American People break the Electoral College tie quite literally. Having the entire nation's popular vote ending in a tie is an astronomical unlikelyhood, even worse than an electoral college tie.

  12. If there is ever a tie, we should just run an immediate election again between the top two candidates. Meaning that the people who voted for a third party cannot vote for a third-party candidate in the runoff vote. Only Democratic or Republican. Whoever gets the most votes in the runoff, wins

  13. Wait but you just said that I handful of states have 80% of the population but account for 20% of the votes, wouldn't that mean the only a handful of State get to pick the president for all 50? Also please go on and name a successful popular vote country I'll wait.

  14. What if the speaker of the house was not born in the US thus could not become acting president, who would be president then? The senate’s president pro-tempore?

  15. Only means the party that happens to be in charge in case of a tie will get thier person in. The Constitution wasn't designed with political parties in mind.

  16. This system is to give smaller states some power! I’m from Iowa and states like that provide produce and livestock so that is why some of these systems are in place! Sorry just thought I would chime in.

  17. A tie in the Senate vote for Vice President would be resolved by the sitting Vice President breaking that tie.

  18. It’s a good thing every state gets one vote, to prevent big states like california to oppress the small states

  19. CGP Grey what happens if the president-elect dies before the Electoral college convenes? What if the top two contenders of the primaries die days or hours before the election in November?

  20. What an idiotic system. While I believe we need to get rid of the electoral college altogether, and prefer ranked choice voting, why didn't they just make the the electoral college an odd number like 537 or 539 to avoid this idiocy?

  21. Popular vote almost entirely strips power away from smaller states. Electoral college is good a bit of balance.

  22. If the Speaker of the House becomes acting president, the House could just refuse to nominate a president and let their leader hold the role.

  23. We live in a representative democracy. Hence the electoral college. The Framers knew that when people cluster together geographically they tend to form tribes. So they sent up a protection against that. Why do people have such a hard time understanding this

  24. Stupid question, vice president makes the call. It is in the US Constitution – it does not require a 3 minute 36 second video.

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