16 Plausible Ways the Electoral College Could Tie in 2012

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Now that the findings of the 2010 Census have been released, and various congressional seats are set to be shuffled around to new homes across the country, it's time to take a look at one of the most horrible flaws of the Electoral College system: You can have a tie. It happened before, in 1800, and it can happen again. There's nothing particularly special about 2012 — a tie is a possibility in every presidential election. But just imagine the chaos if it actually happened. How would America react if the next president is selected by the House of Representatives, and the vice-president by the Senate, as mandated by the Constitution? It would make the Florida recount in 2000 look like an actual tea party, the dainty kind with crumpets and fine tableware. It is a very slim, but very real and very terrifying, possibility.

So, with the help of the awesome interactive electoral map at 270towin.com, let's take a look at sixteen plausible ways it could go down. The obvious caveats apply, of course: It's really far out from the election, and anything — a big terrorist attack, for example — could change everything; much depends on how the economy is doing and who the Republican nominee is, etc. If you can think of any scenarios we missed, let us know in the comments.