Let's say there is a Constitutional amendment passed that makes the District of Columbia a state. Would this prevent the Electoral College vote from resulting in a tie?
Would this stop the Electoral College from tying by making the number of electoral votes odd?
As things currently stand, yes.
DC would lose its current special 3 Electoral College votes. If it became a state, the House would remain at 435 seats, which is set in law regardless of the population or number of states. The Senate, however, would expand to 102 seats as this 51st state is added.
Hence the Electoral College would now have 537 votes.
- Congress could change the number of seats in the House if it so chose.
- There hasn't been a tie in over 200 years; and in the event of a tie, there is already a procedure for dealing with it.
Yes, this would still result in an odd number of electoral votes, here's why.
The 23rd Amendment, which is what grants electoral votes to DC reads as follows:
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The main point to consider is that "The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States" gets it's own electoral votes.
Assuming that Washington DC became a state (as was passed in US House bill H.R.51 on June 26th, 2020) - it would still leave a small portion of DC for the Federal Government.
This is an image of the proposed Federal Enclave from the current bill.
This includes some iconic landmarks such as The White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress and some other Government buildings/monuments.
Every state gets a minimum of 3 electoral votes, we can assume that Washington DC would get those same electoral votes - which would keep the total at 540.
The 23rd amendment still delegates (at time of writing) 3 electoral votes to this federal district, bringing the new total to 543.
Now an interesting thing to consider is that there are only a handful of people (a single family) who live in this entire district, which would mean that it's the most disproportionate electoral vote per person in the entire country.
I'm sure there would be many legal disputes on this, but essentially - the incumbent president and their family would receive a lot more power in the presidential elections.
Obviously, a tie is still possible as Joe mentioned...