270toWin Redesign

What Happens if Nobody Gets 270 Electoral Votes?

September 19, 2016

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. What if nobody reaches that threshhold?

There are two main scenarios where this could occur. Neither is likely at this time, but fun to think about. The first is a 269-269 tie between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The 2nd involves one (or more) third party candidates getting enough electoral votes so that neither Clinton or Trump reach 270.

There are 97 possible ties based on the states that currently look most likely to be competitive in November. Use our updated Electoral College Tie Finder to see what happens as you assign those states to Clinton or Trump.

If no candidate receives 270 electoral votes, the House of Representatives will pick the president. Each state delegation gets one vote, regardless of the number of congressional districts it has. 26 votes, representing a majority of the states, are required to win.

This in mind, it is useful to look at what party will control each state's congressional delegation in January, 2017. This is how it looks right now.

Republicans are very likely to control the majority of delegations in the new Congress. We discuss the above in more detail in this article about Electoral College Ties 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly placed Montana in the 'Democratic or tied' category. Montana has only one congressional district, so a tie is not possible. The seat there is currently rated 'Likely Republican'; thus the state is also moved to 'Likely Republican' on the map.

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