If you need more motivation to vote Republicans into Congress this November, think of the slight chance the U.S. House would decide the presidential election come mid-January.
Democrats control a majority of the U.S. House, but Republicans control more states if it came down to deciding the presidential race.
“If nobody gets a majority of the electoral vote, it goes to the House of Representatives where each state has one vote,” says Dr. Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law expert at University of Texas-Austin. “So Vermont and Texas, Wyoming and California would be treated as equal.”
“The Senate in the first week of January, would have to decide who to count. That would be nightmare enough. I suppose the Senate would say we're not going to count either, so nobody gets to 270 and that would trigger the so-called contingent election.”
Only John Quincy Adams was declared president by the U.S. House back in 1824. Adams edged out Andrew Jackson, who scored more electoral votes in the general election, but not the majority needed to seal victory.
William Crawford and Henry Clay also earned dozens of electoral votes between them. And that's why Levinson believes a contingent election won't happen this time around.
“Unlike in 2000. And unlike in 2016. Unlike 1968 and 1992, there is not a serious third party candidate on the ballot,” he says.
Regardless of who wins, Levinson hopes the race is decided by a wide enough margin to avoid controversy.