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STORY BY THE OREGON HERALD STAFF

Published on April 27, 2021 3:04 AM

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What happens if no presidential candidate receives 270 electoral votes?
A tie in the 2020 presidential election would create the "messiest" possible Electoral College scenario — with the House of Representatives tasked with deciding the winner, according to experts.

In the unlikely event that President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden become locked in a 269-269 tie, the House will break it, with each state delegation getting one vote, according to 270 to Win, a nonpartisan political website that projects elections.

"If neither candidate gets a majority of the 538 electoral votes, the election for President is decided in the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote. A majority of states (26) is needed to win. Senators would elect the Vice-President, with each Senator having a vote. A majority of Senators (51) is needed to win," the website states.

"If that were to happen, I think the conventional wisdom is that Republicans would probably be favored," Alexander Burns, a veteran political correspondent for the New York Times, said on the paper's podcast The Daily.

Burns called a tie highly unlikely — and "literally the messiest scenario possible."

The same process would come into play if a third-party candidate were to win enough electoral votes to prevent either candidate from reaching 270.