There are two antecedents in more than 200 years of history. The curious procedure in Congress in the definition.
If the presidential elections in the United States – whose outcome remains unknown – ended in a tie in the number of electoral delegates, Congress will be in charge of resolving the situation, which would be exceptional and that only has two antecedents in more than two centuries of history.
The US votes indirectly, since the voters nominate in each of the 50 states that make up the Union delegates who then, in the Electoral College, will carry the mandate that the ballot box gave them.
The same system governed in Argentina until the first election of Carlos Menem in 1989, since the 1994 Constitutional Reform ended the Electoral College and established direct voting.
The Electoral College in the USA It is made up of 538 members (the sum of 435 deputies, 100 senators and three delegates from Washington DC) that are distributed among the states according to the population of each one of them, so that whoever obtains 270 delegates will ensure victory.
The number of electoral votes each state receives is equal to the number of senators and representatives it has in Congress. For example, California, the most populous state, has 55 voters, and New Hampshire only four.
The candidate with the most votes in a state is the one that is awarded all the votersTherefore, in practice, winning the popular vote does not always lead to victory: in the 2016 elections the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, obtained three million more votes than Donald Trump in the general account at the country level, but the republican secured the triumph by having imposed – even by little margin – in the states with greater quantity of delegates.
As the number of delegates varies in each state, in one of the many mathematical combinations it could happen that the number obtained by each party, Republican and Democrat, is the same. That is, there would be a tie in the number of voters.
For that case, in which obviously neither party would have a majority of delegates, the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution establishes that the decision to elect a president goes to Congress, since each state delegation in the House has one vote.. But not all congressmen vote, but one for each state, that is 50. There could also be a tie and in that case the vice president who is elected in the Senate would assume the position until the representatives elect a president.
The Senate would be the body in charge of electing the vice president, in this case Mike Pence or Kamala Harris. There the 100 members vote.
If the tie is given for both positions, who assumes the presidency is the president of the House of Representatives, pending an agreement in Congress.
This situation has only occurred twice in the history of the country. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes in 1801, although Burr was competing as vice president, according to the procedure in force at the time. Congress made Jefferson the third American president, after 36 votes in a row.
In 1825, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson also did not receive an absolute majority of the electoral votes. On that occasion, the House elected John Quincy Adams, the sixth to hold the office, as president, despite the fact that Jackson obtained more popular votes.
Source: Télam and Clarín