How Do We Break a Presidential Election Tie?

Chris Higgins

Storm-related news aside, here's an interesting question about next week's US election: What happens if there's a tie? Within the Electoral College, there are 538 electors. It is possible (indeed, it has happened) that this even number of electors could split their votes. When that happens, you might be tempted to think that some simple fix would go down (like, say, falling back to the popular vote). But no, we have ways to make this way more complicated.

In this three-minute video, the inimitable C. G. P. Grey drops some knowledge. Get your learning hat on, and prepare a huge tub of popcorn in the (slim) chance that a tie occurs this year.

(Note: poll analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight currently projects a 0.4% chance of an Electoral College tie this year.)

Also relevant: All Knotted Up: Culture’s Great Tiebreakers.