Is there a requirement to send the election of the U.S. president and vice-president to the House if no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot or can the Electoral College have multiple ballots before announcing a deadlock? Has this ever happened?

2 Answers 2


I found in wikipedia that this is an invalid question. I had been under the impression that the Electoral College got together and voted. I now see that each electoral college member sends his ballot to Congress to be certified so there is no possibility of multiple rounds of balloting.

The Electoral College never actually meets as one body. Electors chosen on Election Day meet in their respective state capitals (electors for the District of Columbia meet within the District) on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, at which time they cast their electoral votes on separate ballots for president and vice president.

  • Actually, the electors meet in the state capitals (all on the same day, a Monday in December), vote together, sign their ballots, and the result of the state vote (including one copy of the signed ballots) is sent off to Washington. The individual elector doesn't send his/her ballot directly. The Federal National Archives site has a good description of this process.
    – Flydog57
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 17:02
  • @Flydog57 That is exactly what I said. I gave an exact quote of what is done. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 17:15

The U. S. Electoral college does not use multiple ballots. If a majority is not reached in the only ballot round, the president is chosen by the House of Representatives, with one vote per state's congressional delegation (i.e., 50 votes total instead of 435). See the Twelfth Amendment.

This has occurred twice, when Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams were chosen as president.

  • 1
    And it's the newly-elected House that gets to pick the President...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 20:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .