WASHINGTON – Why is a tie possible in next week's presidential election?
With 538 electoral votes in the Electoral College,a 269-269 tie would send the decision to the House of Representatives.
Each state is awarded as many electors as the sum of its representatives in the House and its two senators. There are 435 seats in the House,plus 100 senators,yielding 535 votes. Because 535 is odd,there was no possibility of a tie – until 1960.
With the passage of the 23rd Amendment that year,the District of Columbia was awarded the right to vote for president and three electors,the same as the smallest states with two senators and a representative. That brought the total to 538.
Walter Berns,an Electoral College expert at the American Enterprise Institute,said Congress could pass a law adding a member to the House,but that would likely result in fight over which state would get the seat.
“What's the point?” Berns asked. “That's not going to happen this year in time for the election anyway.”
Berns said people like to pontificate on what could happen if there is a tie and Congress can't agree. He said he's heard of a “ridiculous” scenario in which lawmakers could elect Sen. John McCain,R-Ariz.,president.
“Anything's possible,” he said. “They could do it for Mickey Mouse if they wanted to.”