As Election Day draws closer and national polling continues to tighten, the 2016 presidential race could turn out to be historically close. So close that the prospects of an electoral tie between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton isn’t necessarily impossible.
How many electoral college votes does it take to win?
A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
So, what happens if there is a tie?
If there is a tie, with two candidates receiving 269 electoral votes, or a third-party candidate secures enough electoral votes to prevent either the Democratic or Republican candidate from reaching that 270 vote threshold, the House of Representatives decides the president.
In that scenario, each state delegation comes together to cast one state vote for the president — allowing members of whichever party dominates the House of Representatives for that state to decide which candidate the state will back.
A presidential nominee must win 26 states to win the White House. The Senate will then pick the vice president, with each Senator getting one vote. This can mean the president and vice president can come from different parties. Both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans going into the 2016 presidential election, meaning that party’s members would be able to choose the winner.
Wait, what is the electoral college?
The electoral college is a group made up of 538 U.S. citizens who come together to formally cast votes to choose the president and vice president of the United States. The number 538 is based on the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the U.S. Senate, along with 3 electors from Washington D.C. — but the people who are in the electoral college are not those elected lawmakers. In most states, political parties choose the electors who will have pledged to vote for their party’s candidate. When you cast a ballot for a candidate