Potential Paths to a 269 Predicament

Potential Paths to a 269 Predicament

That's right. There is a real Electoral College made up of a body of 538 electors from each of the 50 states plus D.C., and they actually convene after every presidential election to formally select the president. Twenty-six states plus D.C. legally require their chosen electors to vote for the candidate who won their state. However, the remaining 24 states–including the swing states of Iowa and New Hampshire–do not have those requirements, meaning that an elector can decide to go rogue and vote for another candidate.

Let's say that one of the tie scenarios where Obama wins New Hampshire plays out, but when the Electoral College meets, a New Hampshire elector decides to cast their ballot for Romney. That would tilt the scales— instead of 269 to 269, the score would then be 270 Romney, 268 Obama and voila, a president would be chosen.

It's unclear how plausible this really is, but conventional wisdom dictates that it's not likely.

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The process of selecting the actual electors varies from state to state, but electors are chosen on Election Day in conjunction with the presidential candidate they support. If a voter votes for Obama, they're also voting for someone who has been selected as an Obama elector. Typically– although again, not always–these electors are individuals who have a history of political activity with one party, which means they're not likely to be susceptible swing voters.

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