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The D.C. Mistake October 23, 2012

We have been warned both by Nate Silver and by the Washington Post that there is a possibility of an electoral tie with each side getting 269 electoral votes.  How did we end up with that possibility?  How did we end up with an even number of total electoral votes, 538 to be precise?  The number of electoral votes each state has is equal to the number of Representatives in the House plus two, the number of Senators.  And the House of Representatives has an odd number, 435, and of course the Senate always has an even number.

In 1961, the District of Columbia was given three electoral votes for the Presidency and still no formal representation in the House and the Senate.  It is the only electoral constituency never to have gone Republican in its history.  It would be better, I think, to repeal the 23rd amendment, and put in a new one saying that for the purpose of representation in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and for voting for the electors for President, the District of Columbia shall be treated as if it were part of the state of Maryland.  This will allow District residents to be able to vote not only for the President but also for both houses of Congress, without creating three free electoral votes for the Democratic Party.  And it would make irrelevant the D.C. slogan, “Taxation Without Representation.”  And, once again the number of electoral votes would be reduced to the odd number of 535 and the danger of ties would be less likely.

PS: Latest from Slate: If there is an Electoral College tie, Romney will be chosen as President by the House voting as states, but Biden will be chosen as Vice President by the Senate

2 Comments
craigblanchard 10/23/2012

An interesting scenario is if Romney wins the popular vote and Obama wins the electoral vote it will be the fourth time in America’s history that this occurs preceded by 1876, 1888 and 2000.  It could happen.

chrisgiammona 10/23/2012

Fascinating.  the Slate and Washington Post articles provide some interesting possibilities.

From Miles Stoudenmire on my Facebook post:

“Oh man, I hope this doesn’t happen. To me one of the most frustrating things about this election has been all the conspiracy theory stuff (e.g. I sat on a plane Sunday with two people seriously saying they still want to see Obama’s real birth certificate).”

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