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What happens if the election is a dead heat?

by AirTalk®

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Liz Poole, whose first experience with politics was campaigning for President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a child, fills in her ballot during early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot. Scott Olson/Getty Images

As election day approaches and the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney tightens in crucial swing states, a flurry of media attention is focused on the wild, if unlikely ways that the race might stray from the norm.

This swirl of what ifs are fueled by extremes: could if superstorm Sandy delays the election? How will people in storm-stricken areas vote? And by reflections on the past: what if the race is so close it needs a recount? What happens if there’s a tie in the Electoral College? What will happen if it ends up in the Supreme Court, like Bush v. Gore?

While it’s nearly impossible that the election would be postponed beyond November 6, the storm and recovery on the East Coast post-Sandy may still impact the race. With key electorates still inconvenienced by the weather, states like Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and Virginia may demonstrate the storm’s influence when it comes time to vote.

In the much discussed event of a tie? Pollsters and newspapers agree that this is improbable, but it hasn’t stopped rampant speculation about the ways that a tie in the Electoral College could lead to a Romney/Biden administration, or an even more unlikely Biden presidency.  

Should the election be postponed? Would you trust the House of Representatives or the Senate to choose the president? How about the Supreme Court? What should the role of the Electoral College be?




Doyle McManus, Washington Columnist, LA Times

Richard Hasen, Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Author, "The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown" (Yale University Press, 2012); Blogs at

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