Stillwater News Press

November 3, 2012

Oklahoma State University professor says Electoral College tie is unlikely

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — To win the presidency, either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney must win 270 votes in the Electoral College.

There are 538 votes available, and each state has a number of votes assigned to them based on population. Oklahoma has seven electoral votes. California has 55, the most in the nation.

All but two states have a winner take all system, said James Davis, associate professor of political science at OSU. Maine and Nebraska have a “winner take some” system.

In the event of a tie in the Electoral College, each state in the House of Representatives gets one vote to decide the winner.

The vice president is decided by the Senate by a simple vote.

Davis said a tie is a theoretical possibility, but that it’s unlikely.

“Someone’s gonna go over 270 (votes),” Davis said.

A tie in electoral votes has only happened once in U.S. history, when Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams in 1800.

Davis said there are only a few battleground states left. He mentioned Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado as being undecided.

“Ohio is the king-maker this time, if Obama wins Ohio, which he probably will, it’ll be hard to beat him. Ohio is a must-win for Romney.” Davis said.

Because Oklahoma is a “red state,” it’s a foregone conclusion that Romney will win Oklahoma, Davis said. “It’s the reddest state in the union.”