What if the presidential race ended in a tie?

What if the presidential race ended in a tie?

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by Kim Fields

Bio | Email | Follow: @KimFieldsKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 11:59 PM

BOISE -- The race for the White House is supposed to be decided by Tuesday night, but there's a chance it could take weeks to decide.

After months and months of campaigning, what if the race to the White House is a tie? 

For a candidate to win, he or she needs 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes.  But, what if each candidate gets 269 electoral votes?  Who would choose our next president?  The Constitution says members of the U.S. House of Representatives would then decide the election. Political analyst Dr. David Adler says each state would get one vote.

"Which means in Idaho the two members of the House of Representatives, Labrador and Simpson, assuming they're reelected, would make the decision about whom Idaho casts its one vote.  It would be no surprise there."

Since Republicans are expected to continue to control the House, it is likely Romney would win in the event there is a tie.

The U.S. Senate would then choose the office of the Vice President, and because Democrats will likely have the upper hand in that chamber, Dr. Adler says the nation could see a Romney-Biden administration, if the Electoral College vote is a tie.

Adler says the election has been handed to the House only once in American history in the case of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

"I think this time around one or another candidates will win the electoral college.  It's going to be close," said Dr. Adler.

What if there is a split decision, where one candidate wins the popular vote but not the Electoral College?  Dr. Adler says that has happened four times in American history -- 1824, 1876, 1888 and in 2000 when Al Gore won 500,000 more popular votes than George Bush.

Dr. Adler says it is quite possible to see a split decision in 2012.  What happens then?

"Then there are cries of illegitimacy, arguments that the American people have been denied the right to select their president, and why should we have a system in which the people are able to directly select their president."

Adler says if there was a split decision Tuesday, there would likely be numerous legal challenges as there were in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided the President of the United States.

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