Believe it or not, a tie is not outside the realm of possibility. Here’s how that could happen, and what the wild result would be.
As we all know, Romney has to get 270 electoral votes to defeat Obama. And at this point, the national polls average shows only a 0.8% difference between Romney and Obama. In other words, it’s a very close race at the moment.
Christian Heinze over at “The Hill” discussed three routes Romney could take to win the election. “Route #3” of Heinze’ scenarios has Romney winning the election by capturing about half the swing states, and Obama capturing the other half. (Romney would win Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Iowa. Under this scenario, Romney would lose the other swing states PA, CO, NV, VA, and MI.) It would make sense that roughly half the swing states would vote Romney and half would vote Obama.
“Route #3” would result in a total score of:
Romney – 273
Obama – 265
But what would happen if Romney lost New Hampshire, but won all the other states in this “route?” New Hampshire has 4 votes and would lead to a grand total of:
Romney – 269
Obama – 269
Believe it or not, this is not an entirely unlikely possibility. Right now Obama is ahead of Romney in New Hampshire by 6.4% according to the most recent polls from RCP. That is a lot of ground for Romney to make up before November. Certainly not impossible, but New Hampshire is strongly tilting toward Obama at the moment. Likewise, VA is tilting toward Obama partly due to it having the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
So it seems to me that a tie is a pretty realistic possibility at the moment. I want to know what knucklehead decided to have an even number of total electoral votes for the U.S.? This is about as smart as having an even number of Supreme Court justices!
What would happen in the event of a tie?
This is where things get weird and start to sound more like a John Grisham novel than real life. In the event of a tie, it would only take one person out of the 538 “delegates” to switch their vote and thus decide who is president for the whole country. One person. Many states have laws that restrict delegates from switching their vote, but many states do not.
But if we assume that no delegate switches their vote, and we still have a tie, then the House of Representatives picks the president, and the Senate picks the Vice President. Right now the House is controlled by the Republicans and the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Can you imagine a Romney/Biden ticket? Or maybe a Romney/Obama Ticket?
As one source says, if you thought Bush v. Gore was controversial, this would be even more so.