What are Odds of a Tie in US Elections
After 2 years of fundraising and campaigning, election day is here. Now what if there is a tie in the electoral college?
Online bookies are offering odds! Bet365 has 51/1 odds of an election tie. BetFair and Paddy Power have a tie at 34 to 1.
This is every lawyer’s biggest fantasy. The first thing that will happen is wherever the vote was close (51-49), lawyers on both sides will file briefs with every layer of courts in the US.
While the lawyers are busy arguing, the constitution comes into play. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the election. So what happens if both candidates end up with 269 electoral votes?
It happened – in 1824. The result was John Quincy Adams being elected President and not Andrew Jackson (who won the next election).
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution declares that “the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote..”
In modern English, every state gets one vote.
As there are 50 states (Washington DC, a district, would have no say in the matter!), whoever gets 26 states to support him would win. Today, Republicans control the House of Representatives and its fair to assume they would easily get 26, even 30 states to support them.
Who picks the VP in this scenario? The Senate! Today the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. So in a tie, it is reasonable to assume that the President would be a Republican and the Vice President would be a Democrat!
Another crazy piece of trivia – in all but 2 states, the winner of the popular vote gets all of the states’ electoral college votes. But not in Nebraska and Maine. In those 2 states, the electoral vote is split by congressional district. In theory, Nebraska and Maine can give a few votes for one candidate and a few votes for the other, though this rarely happens.
If you think this system is nuts, author James Michener wrote a book in 1969 called Presidential Lottery that exposes the loopholes in the American electoral college system.
We hope you enjoy election night!