Can there be a tie between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden?
The simple answer: Yes. If Biden flips Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin, but every other state remains as it was in 2016, there could be a 269-269 tie.
Is that likely? Probably not. It appears Biden is leading in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which Trump won in 2016 and accounts for one electoral vote. If he ends up winning there, the tie is off the table.
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But if we do end up with a 269-269 tie, here’s what would happen.
The presidential election is left up to members of the House of Representatives in the event of a tie or any results where no one wins 270 electoral votes. The choice for the vice president is left up to the Senate.
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The president isn’t technically chosen on Election Day. Members of the Electoral College gather in their states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the election to officially elect the president. The electors will meet on Dec. 14 this year.
If the votes go to the House, states will vote as units. What that means: All of the House members from one state come together and vote, like their own mini state. Each delegation gets one vote.
Trump or Biden would need to win the backing of 26 state delegations to win the presidency.
While Democrats continue to hold a majority in the House overall, when broken down by state delegation, Republicans control a majority of the state delegations. It’s unclear whether that will change following the Nov. 3 election results. That means it could be good news for Trump if the race goes to the House.
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In the Senate, members vote individually for the next vice president. If Republicans continue to hold the majority following the Nov. 3 election results, Vice President Mike Pence will likely be re-elected to his role.
Members of the newly elected Congress would be the ones to vote for the president and vice president.
If this scenario happens, it will be the latest turn in a highly unusual and a very competitive election cycle, one that is often labeled as the “most important election” of our lifetime.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Can Electoral College really tie at 269 to 269 ? Yes. It’s not likely but here’s how it works