Robert Alexander is a professor of political science and founding director of the Institute for Civics and Public policy at Ohio northern University. That is likewise the author of "Representation and the Electoral College." monitor him top top Twitter:
onuprof. David B. Cohen is a professor of politics science and interim manager of the ray C. Bliss institute of applied Politics at The college of Akron. Monitor him top top Twitter

( United claims has challenged an extraordinary collection of difficulties in 2020. Foreign election interference, an impeachment trial, a global health pandemic, natural disasters, financial instability, mass protests and also civil unrest have plagued the country.

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Against this backdrop, chairman Donald Trump has actually intensified his rhetoric undermining the electoral process, stating the "the only method we"re going to lose this choice is if this election is rigged." include a sheep of extreme political polarization and also a perhaps close election and also we have a recipe because that yet one more disaster prior to the end of the year.
No wonder a majority of Americans execute not have actually confidence the election will be conducted fairly, follow to recent polling from NBC/Survey Monkey.



It does no take much imagination to envision a map whereby a tie can happen this November, and given the current state that affairs, the country is ill-prepared for such one occurrence. A quick glance in ~ the electoral map mirrors that if whatever remains the exact same as 2016 with the exception of Michigan, Wisconsin and also Arizona walk blue, the result would it is in a 269-269 tie.
Alternatively, if the parties to be to claim the specific same states as 4 years ago, yet Biden wins the claims of Michigan, Pennsylvania and the one electoral poll of Nebraska"s second Congressional District, the 2020 election would also end in a deadlock. It would additionally be the first election worked out by the us Congress due to the fact that the choice of 1876. Although this is a remote possibility, the is helpful -- and quite unstable -- to examine what would certainly likely take place next.
When Americans vote for the presidential and also vice presidential candidate of their choice, one of two people by letter or in-person, this November, they will certainly actually be casting a vote for a slate the electors, same to the number of a state"s electoral votes, who will actors a vote on your behalf in their particular state fundings on December 14.
This process hinges top top presidential electors staying faithful to their pledged candidates. The supreme Court seek to prevent chaos resulted in by so-called "faithless electors" (electors who do not cast their electoral poll for the candidate to whom they room pledged) in your ruling earlier this summer in Chiafalo v. Washington. The Court discovered that says that had actually "binding laws" that either punished or eliminated electors who did no vote together anticipated were certainly constitutional. Because that many, this was heralded as the end of faithless electors.
However, while 33 states and also the ar of Columbia require pledges the electors, just 14 states have results which actually result in the remove of a faithless elector. These 14 claims account for simply 121 electoral votes, definition that over there is no legal means to bind the continuing to be 417 electoral votes. Study on electors finds that a surprisingly huge number often consider casting rogue votes and also an Electoral university tie might create good incentives because that them to carry out so. Although couple of go rogue, a record number cast faithless votes in 2016, including five Democratic and two Republican electors.
In the event of an Electoral university tie between Biden and also Trump, a faithless elector could decide to poll for the various other candidate, thus offering that candidate 270 electoral votes and also potentially finishing the choice in a wave of controversy. However, on January 6 in a joint session the Congress, every electoral votes obtained from the claims are check out aloud and also tabulated. At that point, it is most likely that the faithless vote would certainly be challenged and debated amongst members of Congress.
Notably, every previous faithless votes have actually been count by congress in the way they to be received. The Court"s ruling in Chiafalo could administer support to nullify a rogue poll if one to be cast, however that outcome is uncertain.
Supposing all electors vote as expected and no candidate receives a majority of Electoral college votes, the election would move to the contingency process, which has been utilized 3 times in American history, all in the 19th century.

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In a arbitrarily election, the residence of to represent is charged with determining the winner that the presidency if the Senate selects the evil president. Potentially including further intrigue, over there is also nothing in the constitution requiring members that the house or Senate to host their deliberations or actors their votes in public. During the 1825 contingent election, votes were actors in secret.
In the House, members need to choose amongst the top three candidates who won electoral votes for the presidency. Every state delegation gets one vote, nevertheless of the size of your delegation. This procedure emphasizes the power of statehood and tiny states have as much say about the following president together the most inhabited ones. Thus, Wyoming (population, 580,000) and California (population, 40 million) have equal clout in this process.
Currently, 26 state U.S. Residence delegations are bulk Republican, 23 says are bulk Democrat, and 1 state has divided party control. Us won"t know until after election Day, and also perhaps considerably long after, how plenty of state residence delegations are controlled whereby parties in the just arrive 117th Congress. If delegation regulate were to continue to be unchanged, it may well be the Joe Biden might win the well-known vote through millions and also have the House managed by his own party just to lose the presidency since Republicans controlled more House delegations.
While this all might seem far-fetched, Donald Trump has floated the idea the he could win the presidency in a contingent election. In response, speak of the residence Nancy Pelosi urged her fellow democratic members the the home to redouble their efforts to for sure Democrats win a bulk of residence delegations. Clearly, scenarios that this sort are top top the mental of ours nation"s leaders.
The an option of the angry president drops to the Senate and each senator would have actually a single vote. Senators would choose amongst the peak two candidates that won electoral votes for the evil presidency. While republic may host on to their majority in the Senate, it is quite feasible that Democrats might have a slim bulk in the 117th Congress. Thus, in a contingency scenario, the is entirely possible that Donald Trump could win reelection and Kamala Harris would certainly be his evil president.
And if that is no bizarre enough, if the residence is can not to agree top top a winner by January 20, 2021, in ~ noon, the vice chairman would come to be acting president detailed the Senate might agree ~ above a vice president. If neither body deserve to decide on a winner through the January 20 deadline, the Presidential sequence Act would certainly kick in and Pelosi, as soon as she resigned she seat in Congress, would certainly act together president till the election were lastly resolved.
Though this result may show up improbable, if 2020 has actually taught us anything, the is to suppose the unexpected and prepare because that any and also all scenarios. Need to an electoral poll tie occur, we believe that America, and also the world, will not be prepared for the bedlam which would ensue.
An previously version the this story offered the wrong percent of votes in MI, WI and also PA that would have needed to readjust to transform the result of the 2016 election. It was 0.29%.