The vast majority of people in the United States are focused on just two names for the impending Presidential Election on November 8th; Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While the election of our next President may be decided on November 8th, it will not be until two months later, when the Electoral College votes are counted on January 6th of 2017, that the President is formally elected.
In order to win the election, an individual must garner 270 Electoral votes, a majority of the 538 votes that are available. What happens if no candidate receives at least 270 Electoral votes? This did happen in the election of 1824. This is possible if a third party candidate won the Electoral votes of one state, and Hillary and Donald did not win a decisive majority from the remaining Electoral votes. If that were to happen, the duty to elect the new President would be given to the House of Representatives. That choice would be limited to the three candidates with the most Electoral votes.
Many voters realize that there are numerous other candidates that are either on the ballot, or available as a write-in vote. Most people don’t think that any of these candidates has a serious chance of winning and becoming President. The highest of these third party candidates in the national polls is Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. Mr. Johnson is the former Governor of New Mexico and polls in the high single digits on a national basis.
A more interesting candidate is David Evan McMullin in Utah. The latest polls show a three-way tie between Mr. McMullin, Hillary and Donald in Utah within the margin of error. If Evan won Utah, and neither Hillary nor Donald won at least 270 Electoral votes, the decision would be made by the House of Representatives. In this scenario, it might be that the members of the House could not agree on either the Democratic Party’s nominee or the Republican Party’s nominee.
Each state is allowed only one vote, and about 30 states are Republican dominated. However, many Republicans are not thrilled with Mr. Trump. As a reluctant compromise they might agree to select the only other person with Electoral votes as the next President of the United States.
By the way, the Vice-President would be chosen by the Senate under this scenario. That selection would be limited to only the two candidates with the most votes, and each Senator would be allowed only one vote. If this were to play out, President McMullin would not have a Vice-President who had been on the ticket with him.
This is not a prognostication. It is just a flight of my imagination put to words. Please vote!