The Peril that Lurks in Even Numbers: Selecting the President

Robert Bennett

Northwestern University Law School

The Green Bag, Forthcoming

We should take the possibility of an electoral college tie more seriously than we have. There could easily have been a tie in the 2000 presidential elections. With the country closely divided politically, and campaigning informed by technological advance, the possibility of a tie in the future is real. In the case of an electoral college tie, the choice of the President is relegated to the House of Representatives, where each state has one vote. A majority of states is required, and ties could bedevil that process as well, not only because we have an even number of states, but because many state delegations have an even number of members.

There is a ready remedy. Increasing the size of the House by one would yield an odd number of electors. Faithless electors or third party candidates might still necessitate recourse to the House, but an odd number of electors would be a major advance. An increase in the size of the House might not come easily, and a large increase might be a bad idea. But those risks should be tackled and overcome to avert the possibility of an electoral college tie.

Note: This is a description of the paper and not the actual abstract.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Politics, Humanities

Accepted Paper Series

Not Available For Download

Date posted: March 15, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Bennett, Robert, The Peril that Lurks in Even Numbers: Selecting the President. The Green Bag, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=488684

Contact Information

Robert Bennett (Contact Author)
Northwestern University Law School ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8430 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)
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