What happens if the US election is a draw?

Voting for the 2020 US election is well underway, with millions of Americans lining up to back either Republican President Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden.

The candidates are battling to secure 270 electoral seats in the House of Representatives.

Although Joe Biden had taken an early lead, swing states such as Pennsylvania are yet to announce their all important results – so the presidency is still anyone’s game.

But could there be a tie, and what would happen if Mr Trump and Mr Biden draw?

Could the US election have a draw?

A tie is unlikely, but not impossible – although, there has never been a draw before.

There are a total of 538 elector seats in the electoral college – which can be split into 269-269.

A tie would mean that both candidates would have received 269 electoral votes.

Or, independent parties may win some votes, which could mean that the Republicans and Democrats tie.

What happens if the US election is a tie?

In the result of a tie, the House of Representatives choose who will be the next President with a ballot, called a contingent election.

The representative from each of the 50 states gets one vote irrespective of size and the winner is elected.

50 is an even number, so there could be a tie after this ballot. In that case, the House of Representatives keeps voting until there is a winner.

They carry on voting until January 20 2021, when Donald Trump would be forced to step down if they still haven’t come to a decision.

The 20th Amendment of 1933 specifies that the four-year terms of both the president and vice president will end at noon on January 20 following an election year.

The Congressional Research Service stated in a report in March 2020 that: ‘There are no provisions of law permitting a president to stay in office after this date, even in the event of a national emergency, short of the ratification of a new constitutional amendment.’

This means that Donald Trump would not be allowed to remain as president past this date, without major amendments to the constitution being made.

If the courts and college cannot select a new president, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is currently Democrat Nancy Pelosi, would become acting president until another election could be scheduled.

Pelosi would have the same power and responsibilities as a normal president until a new one is re-elected.

MORE : US election results map live: Who is currently winning – Trump or Biden?

MORE : What happens if the US election result is delayed?

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US election 2020

Follow our US election live blog for the latest updates throughout election day and night.

Wondering how it all works? Check out our guide to the most Googled questions on the 2020 election which covers everything you need to know about swing states, the electoral college, and everything in between.

  • What are this year’s swing states?
  • How to watch the US Election in the UK: Start time, channels, and what to expect
  • When will the US election result be announced?
  • What happens if the US election result is delayed?
  • US election results map live: Who is currently in the lead?

Check out Metro.co.uk’s full US election coverage here

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