I have heard so much salivating by some on the Left recently that this upcoming election could end up in a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College. I don’t think that is going to happen, but just for grins let’s assume that it will. What would happen then?
There is more confusion than understanding on the part of most of the electorate as to what the process is for determining the President if there is no majority winner in the Electoral Vote. I want to address it, going back to basic civics and government classes in High School, College, history, and decades of study of our Government and the Constitution.
Our process has been corrupted, modified, and misapplied by Congresses over the years, but the Constitution is still the guiding document to govern this process. Most think that the 538 members of Congress vote, and whoever gets the majority becomes the President in this scenario. That is incorrect based on the Constitution and the prescribed process. Yes, they vote but they vote as a block, a delegation, or a state. That means we have 50 states and a candidate must receive 26 of those votes to win. The Senate selects or elects the Vice President and the 100 Senators vote and the winner must receive 51 votes.
Each state delegation can cast their vote for one of the three candidates who received the most votes in the election. The Senators are limited to the top two in determining the Vice President. It is a possible scenario that we could have a President from one Party and a Vice President from another.
However, just because the results reported on Election Night or shortly thereafter indicates a tie that does not mean that the final Electoral College vote will end that way. In the 2016 election, we witnessed seven electors cast their votes for someone other than the determined winner in their state. They were, what is called ‘faithless electors.’
The rules require that Congress meet in joint session on January 6, 2021, to ‘count the votes’ and ‘certify’ the outcome. If no candidate received the required 270 votes the House would be charged with determining the President and the Senate the Vice President. This is where much confusion comes in for many.
What Congress would determine the President’s fate? It would be the 117th Congress that will be sworn in on January 3, 2021. In the present Congress, the Democrats hold a majority of Representatives but not a majority of State Delegations. Many are unaware of that reality. In the 116th Congress, the one now serving, the Republicans hold 26 delegations and the Democrats 22, with Michigan and Pennsylvania tied.
We have seen the failure to garner the required majority in the Electoral College in our American history. It happened the first time in 1800 when the House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson over his running mate Aaron Burr. That was in a time when each Party put forth two choices for President. Jefferson was the Republican’s first choice and Burr the second. Both Jefferson and Burr received 73 electoral votes. The situation was so sticky and awkward Congress quickly moved to hold a separate vote for Vice President and that eventually became the duty of the Senate.
The second time we experienced this was in 1824. This time it was not a tie, but a four-way split in votes. Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, but not the required Electoral College majority. The House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams over Jackson as President. Jackson came back in 1828 and 1832 to win the elections outright.
There was the suggestion that Trump and Clinton could and some even suggested would end in a tie. Had that happened the waters were incredibly murky. There were 11 states controlled by the Republicans that were in so-called swing states. The question would have been how the delegates would vote, by Party or by how their State voted? It could have ended in a 25-25 deadlock.
What would have happened then? According to the 12th Amendment, “if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.” That was later changed to the Vice President-Elect and to January 20th in the 20th Amendment.
The Vice President-Elect is chosen by the Senate and in the Clinton-Trump scenario, the question would have been who controlled the Senate. We know that the Republicans had control of the Senate and that would have likely meant that Mike Pence would have been the Vice President-Elect and acted as President.
What would happen if both the House and the Senate ended in ties for both President and Vice President? That is incredibly unlikely but were it to happen, the third person in line would become the President, the Speaker of the House.
My objective in this article is not so much to give a lecture or treatise on the process but to illustrate the incredible importance of voting and for those of us who want to keep America the Free Constitutional Republic to reclaim the House of Representatives. It is imperative that we Vote and keep the Senate, regain the House of Representatives and never let this get to the point that there is no clear winner in the Electoral College for President and Vice President.
If we fail to do that and just suppose that the Democrats, once again, shaft Bernie Sanders and deny him the nomination, which they have done. Will his following split into a third-party and possibly create a situation where no Party wins the required 270 Electoral Votes? Would it create a situation where the Democrat vote was faced with an unbridgeable chasm? Would that result in a Trump and Republican landslide? I suspect the latter but do not ignore the other possibilities.
It is imperative that if we love America, the constitution, our freedom, and want to keep our Inalienable Rights protected we must VOTE, and our vote must be to defeat those who are seeking to plunge us into economic darkness and tamper with our liberties.
God bless you and God bless America!