As per the Twelfth Amendment, I am of the understanding that in a deadlock situation in a general election, the vote goes to the House of Representatives, with each state getting a single collective vote (totaling 50 votes) for the President and Vice-President of the United States being selected via that vote.

That being said, I have two questions:

1) In a state with numerous representatives, what would the process look like to narrow down a choice to a single vote for their state?

2) Who are the available candidates to vote for? Could the representatives come to a decision to vote for a "write in" candidate (i.e. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz), or do they have to stick to the candidates that are on the ballot?

  • Do these answers answer your questions? – Bobson Nov 7 '16 at 23:56
  • @Bobson This answers the second question quite nicely. Still unsure about question 1, though. Would the representatives cast an internal vote and the candidate with the highest votes determines how the state's 1 vote goes? Or would they have to confer like a jury and collectively come up with a decision on how their state is going to vote? – mhodges Nov 8 '16 at 0:11
  • Also related. – Brythan Nov 8 '16 at 0:19

In a state with numerous representatives, what would the process look like to narrow down a choice to a single vote for their state?

It's a simple plurality vote by secret ballot. It's likely that if no one gets a plurality because of a two or three-way tie, no one would get that state's vote. However, there is no precedent on that, as the single previous example had no ties. They can repeat the vote in case of a deadlock.

If no candidate gets a majority of the states (twenty-six or more) by the time of the inauguration, an acting president is picked from the line of succession. This would normally be the vice-president, but it is possible that the vice-president vote deadlocked as well. Then it would be the Speaker of the House.

  • Would the House vote multiple times, until a majority is achieved (as in past party conventions) or does the House have a one time vote (like the College of Electors)? – DJohnM Nov 8 '16 at 5:24
  • I don't think it's possible for the VP vote to deadlock. There's only two choices there. – Bobson Nov 8 '16 at 12:15
  • @Bobson And they need a majority of the whole number of Senators. I.e. they need 51. If they can't get to 51 for any reason, they deadlock. This could be a 50-50 tie that the old Vice-President can't break (unclear until someone tries it and precedent is set). Or it could be a Senator not voting for whatever reason. – Brythan Nov 8 '16 at 13:58
  • @DJohnM Note where I said, "They can repeat the vote in case of a deadlock." They are not limited to one vote. The problem relative to party conventions is that having a fail over means that people may prefer the failover to the compromise candidate. And of course, they can't propose alternative candidates for the compromise. In a contested party convention, they usually throw out the initial leaders and switch to someone who was hardly considered earlier in the process. – Brythan Nov 8 '16 at 14:12
  • This type of answer was exactly what I was looking for, thank you! – mhodges Nov 8 '16 at 22:14

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