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Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:11 AM

In case of an electoral tie - can the House choose ANYBODY they want for President?

I've read several scenarios about what could happen if there is an electoral tie after next week's election. I know that the House would select the President, and the Senate would select the VP.

But here's my question: Would Congress be compelled to choose from ONLY the candidates that were on the ballot? Having read the 20th Amendment, I do not see any such restrictions - it seems rather vague on the issue.

Theoretically, it would seem that a rethug-controlled House could pick Santorum as their person, and the Democrat-controlled Senate could then select anyone they wanted for VP.

An electoral tie seems unlikely - and the idea of Congress choosing someone other than the official candidates seems extremely unlikely - but is there anything that would prevent that?

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Reply In case of an electoral tie - can the House choose ANYBODY they want for President? (Original post)
Hugabear Nov 2012 OP
defacto7 Nov 2012 #1
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #3
Hugabear Nov 2012 #5
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #6
Hugabear Nov 2012 #7
nsd Nov 2012 #10
Kurovski Nov 2012 #2
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #8
Kurovski Nov 2012 #11
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #4
nsd Nov 2012 #9
davidn3600 Nov 2012 #12

Response to Hugabear (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:25 AM

1. One point to add

It would be the incoming congress that would make the decision not the outgoing. So whatever the elections outcome in congress and senate these would be the ones to base any hypothetical choices and I'm not sure Santorum would fit the bill if it goes according to our expectations now. But my unqualified understanding is that they would be picking either Obama or Romney and their respective running mates.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong. This is the general understanding going around. Reading the 20th amendment does seem to leave some free space that's not clear.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:29 AM

3. The House picks the President and The Senate picks the Vice-president in the case of a tie. n/t

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:30 AM

5. True - but are they restricted in their options?

Is there anything in the Constitution or US law that requires Congress to select one of the major candidates?

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:34 AM

6. I haven't seen anything that says they have to pick the folks that are on the ballot ...


so I do not really know.

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:36 AM

7. Apparently it must be from the "three highest candidates"

Although I'm still not sure if that refers to the three highest presidential candidates (in which case I suppose the 3rd choice could be the Libertarian candidate).

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:50 AM

10. Only candidates who receive electoral votes may be considered.

If only Obama and Romney win electoral votes, then the House must pick one of them. The Libertarian candidate will almost certainly not win any electoral votes and cannot considered, no matter how he does in the popular vote.

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Response to Hugabear (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:28 AM

2. I thought it was my boy-toy John Boehner?

I know he wins in some sort of tie or other.

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Response to Kurovski (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:38 AM

8. No. Boehner does not win anything in tie.


Boehner would become president though if the sitting president and vice-president were to die before Biden took the oath of office and picked a new VP.

The Speaker of The House is second in line.


1 Vice President of the United States Joe Biden (D)
2 Speaker of the House John Boehner (R)
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Daniel Inouye (D)
4 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (D)
5 Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner (I)
6 Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (D)
7 Attorney General Eric Holder (D)
etc...

Full list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_succession#Current_order

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 03:01 AM

11. Thanks for the clarification. (nt)

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Response to Hugabear (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:30 AM

4. Here's a link to a DU OP regarding a tie ...

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Response to Hugabear (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 02:45 AM

9. The 12th Amendment does restrict the choice.

It says that the House must choose a president from among the top three candidates who received votes in the Electoral College. In this case there will only be two (Obama and Romney) unless there's a faithless elector.

The Senate much choose a vice-president from among the top two vote-getters. In this case that means Biden and Ryan.

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Response to Hugabear (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 03:14 AM

12. Technically it could if an elector flips

If it is 269-269, neither have the majority of electoral votes. So it goes to the House. But the 12th amendment limits the discussion to the top 3 electoral vote-getters.

But if one of Romney's 269 Electoral voters were to go rouge and flip and vote for Santorum. Then the House could consider him because he'd be in the top 3.

He would still need 26 delegations. I really don't see the whole GOP united to put in office someone that wasn't on the ballot. But you might get a handful of states that prevent it from getting to 26. At that point you might see a some Democrat delegations, realizing it's futile for Obama to win, make deals with enough Republican delegations to get to 26 and keep Santorum out.

But the odds of all that coming to pass is extremely unlikely.

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