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Monday, November 01, 2004

What If It's a Tie?

With polls suggesting the US is as evenly divided now as it was four years ago, analysts say this election, too, might end in a virtual draw.

If that happens, the courts may again cast the deciding votes -- and both parties are marshalling thousands of lawyers to prepare for the battles that may be on the cards.

Could the election end in a tie?

With something on the order of 110m ballots expected to be cast, it is unlikely that the popular vote will be an exact tie. However, the Electoral College actually chooses the president, and a tie there is possible.

Florida has replaced its punch cards with newer machinery

A Washington Post analysis of 11 swing states found no less than 33 different combinations that would result in a 269-269 Electoral College tie.

Under the 12th amendment to the US constitution, in case of tie, the House of Representatives chooses the president. Because Republicans will probably control the House, President Bush would be likely to win.

But the Senate chooses the vice-president, making it theoretically possible that Mr Bush could be saddled with John Edwards as his second-in-command.

The House of Representatives has chosen the president only once since the 12th amendment was adopted. That was John Quincy Adams, in 1824.

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