As long as the vote count continues and as tightly as before, there is still the possibility of a tie between Donald Trump Y Joe Biden. It is unlikely, but not impossible. In that case, the decision would remain in the hands of Congress and there are precedents.
Under the US Constitution, each of the two assemblies that make up Congress would play a role in the tiebreaker: The House of Representatives would elect the president and the Senate the vice president. The remote setting favors Trump.
In 1800 there was already a tie, although somewhat different, when Thomas Jefferson received the same number of votes as Aaron Burr. After 36 votes, the congressmen elected Jefferson and, incidentally, wrote the 12th amendment, which is the rule that would apply to a tie in 2020.
How could Trump and Biden tie?
Reaching a draw is not complicated.
Americans indirectly vote for their president through a body known as the Electoral College, made up of 538 members representing different states. The candidate who totals 270 first wins, an overwhelmingly even number.
For the Electoral College to represent the population proportionally, each state contributes members according to its population, so California elects 55 and Montana – almost the same size – only 3.
In most territories, whoever wins each state takes everything, there is no proportionality, except in Maine and Nebraska, which distribute them by districts.
The two tie possibilities still open
The sums of 5 states remain open and adjusted, leaving room for two scenarios in which Trump and Biden would tie.
On the one hand, if Biden snatches from Trump the states of Michigan (already won), Wisconsin (already won) and Arizona (is leading), but everyone else re-elects Trump, both candidates would add up to 269.
There is a but: Nebraska distributes its delegates proportionally and Biden is winning in a district in which Trump triumphed in 2016, so a territory of 600,000 inhabitants would have the last word.
In the second scenario, Biden would only win Georgia, while Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania would opt for the Republican ruler.
What would the tiebreaker be like?
There would be two procedures.
The House of Representatives elects the president. This assembly is intended to represent the entire population of the United States proportionally, not by state, and maintains a Democratic majority that, however, could not support Biden.
The reason is that, according to the Constitution, in this spatial vote the representatives would meet according to their state of origin and would vote en bloc. 50 blocks in total. In this way, even if California contributes more congressmen, their vote would count the same as Montana’s and the numbers would favor Trump.
(You may be interested in: Trump loses lawsuit in Michigan, wins another in Pennsylvania)
The Senate, for its part, would choose the vice president. Here the majority is Republican and they would most likely vote for Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate.
But even this circumstance is in doubt, because there are two Republican senators who could lose their seats to the Democrats in Georgia, and that would shift the balance toward a tie between senators.
An endless cycle would come.
Each state chooses two senators for a total of 100, without proportionality. The regulations say that in the event of a 50-50 tie, the vice president will tie the tie. But if there is no vice president because it is tied and so are the senators … the deliberations would be eternal.
Although long before reaching that chaotic scenario, the election would likely be embroiled in countless court battles and vote counts.
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