Possibility of an Electoral Tie?

Think 2000 was bad, where the Supreme Court appointed Bush to be President? What about if there’s a tie in the Electoral College? If so, then this time it will be up to the House of Representatives to decide the outcome; and with a Republican majority in the House, you KNOW who will win.

It’s not unheard of. Apparently there are 17 possible outcomes that can result in a 269 to 269 tie — a 3.25% chance. And there’s even a possibility that if Bush was selected by the House, that the Senate would choose John Edwards as Vice President. (NOTE: This can all be avoided if Democrats win a majority of House and Senate seats, as it’s the incoming class of lawmakers that choose, not the outgoing class, which is Republican majority).

All I can say is, Kerry in a landslide!
Tied Presidential Election Could Be Mother of All Messes

Wed Oct 27,11:53 AM ET

Politics – Reuters

By Joanne Kenen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A freak tie result in the presidential election could mean the House of Representatives would choose the next president, a scenario that would favor Republican incumbent George W. Bush.

But since the Senate would decide the vice presidency, Bush could end up with Democrat John Edwards (news – web sites).

If you thought the close 2000 presidential election was a mess, think about what could happen if the 2004 contest ended up as an Electoral College (news – web sites) tie.

There’s an outside chance of a tie because of the way the United States elects its president. Voters in 50 states and the District of Columbia select 538 representatives to the Electoral College. A winner needs 270 votes.

Nathan Ritchey, a Youngstown State University mathematician, calculates there’s a 3.25 percent chance of a 269-269 tie in the electoral college. The odds have increased since late summer.

“Looking at the 10 closest states, there are 17 ways this can occur — 17 out of 1,024 possible outcomes,” said Ritchey, who has been tracking statistics in this year’s contest between Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry (news – web sites) of Massachusetts.

The odds of a tie fluctuates as states move on and off the “battleground” list according to the latest polls. After all, nobody a few months ago saw states like Hawaii, with four electoral votes, or Colorado, with nine, to be in play.

As recently as August, chances for a tie were only 1.4 percent, said Ritchey.

Even if Bush wins on Tuesday by a single electoral vote, there’s still the possibility of a hitch.

A small town mayor in West Virginia, who is a Republican elector, may not cast his vote for Bush when the electors convene on Dec. 13.

“Gosh, I just don’t know,” South Charleston Mayor Richie Robb told Reuters. Robb said he admired the first President Bush (news – web sites) but opposes the son’s Iraq (news – web sites) and tax policies. As a Vietnam veteran, he resents the attacks on Kerry’s war record.

FAITHLESS ELECTORS

There have been a handful of so-called faithless electors in the last century but none have ever decided the presidency. Robb acknowledged he could find himself in that position, but said a bit nervously, “I don’t think it’s likely.”

Robb is the only possible “faithless elector” who has made his views public.

There is no federal law requiring electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states, but some states do bind electors to popular vote results.

The only previous tie was in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each got 73 electoral votes. The House chose Jefferson and Burr, under the system then in place, became vice president.

If the Bush-Kerry race tied, Bush would have an advantage in the Republican-dominated House under a system in which each state gets one vote, based on the makeup of its congressional delegation. The House is expected to remain Republican-run on Tuesday.

But should Democrats recapture the Senate, the outcome could be Republican Bush as president and Democrat Edwards as vice president.

After the monthlong dispute over the 2000 race, ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, most of the calls for reform have focused on the mechanics of voting — the voting machines — not the system itself.

But another squeaker, or another election in which the winner of the popular vote didn’t become president, would probably be unsettling enough to create momentum for at least some change.

“If it does go into the House, people would feel disenfranchised,” said Candice Nelson, an elections expert at American University.

University of Florida political scientist Michael Martinez said he has been too preoccupied with the potential mess next week to worry about reform next year.

“It could be anything — voter fraud in a battleground state, a fight over provisional ballots in Ohio, problems with voting machines in Dade County, Florida — or all of the above. Or something neither you nor I have even thought of,” he said.

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