Is it possible to tie the U.S. electoral votes? What happens then?

By A. H. Jaffor Ullah


The way the electoral vote count is shaping up in America, it is possible for both Bush, and Kerry to have 269 electoral votes each.  In that far-fetched scenario, the House of Representatives will vote and since there are more congressmen from the Republican Party, George Bush will be reelected easily as the next president. However, for this to happen, states such as Ohio and Florida has to go under Bush's column; likewise, West Virginia has to go under Kerry's column.  Other than these, the rest of the states probably will fall under one or the other candidate as it happened in year 2000 when Al Gore ran for the office.


Here are the states and electoral allocation for each candidate:


Bush winning the following 28 states with 269 electoral votes: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), Colorado (9), Florida (27), Georgia (15), Indiana (11), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Missouri (11), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Ohio (20), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), Virginia (13), and Wyoming (3).

Kerry winning the following 22 states and District of Columbia with 269 electoral votes: California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Iowa (7), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington (11), West Virginia (5), Wisconsin (10).


Election watchers worldwide should concentrate on two states, Ohio, Florida, to figure out whether George Bush or John Kerry will come out victorious in this tussle.  There is no telling what would happen to the distribution of electoral votes in the event voters turn up is very high.  Then all the pre-election polls will be of no help as far as battleground states are concerned.


It will be quite a show in the evening of November 2, 2004 when vote counts will start pouring in and the news network will start apportioning electoral votes to each of the candidates.  Since vote counts are normally slow in Ohio, we may not know the result until the dawn cracks in the next day.  Also, the possibility of litigations, votes recounts, and other irregularities may even slowdown the process of vote tallies.  Therefore, brace for some rough weather.


In 2000, Al Gore conceded the election in the night at one point when he heard that he lost the state of Florida to Bush.  But when he heard about the voting irregularities in many counties of Florida, then he withdrew it.  This time around, both of the candidates will be extra cautious and we may not here the concession speech from any of the candidates.  Therefore, we may have to be glued to the television set or be connected to the Internet to know who will be the winner in the election.


This scribe has seen all the U.S. election started from 1972 when Senator George McGovern ran against the incumbent president Richard M. Nixon.  However, never before has he seen such a polarized groups of voters.  All the polls indicate a close election and which is probably true.  Therefore, no one could predict based on exit polls the exact distribution of the electoral votes until a trend develops in the voting pattern this year.  My take on this year�s election is the following: if more people think the country is headed in the wrong direction in the last four years, only then Mr. Bush will be booted out of the office.


There will be no dearth of post-election commentators or political pundits to analyze what went wrong for the losing candidate.  Against the all odd, if the election is tied this time, then Americans will start dialoging for a change in the way they choose their president.  There may be some move to change the election laws to get rid of the complicated electoral votes; they may opt for the popular votes instead, which in vogue throughout the world.


Please stay tuned for more exciting news on U.S. election that will be coming out in the evening of November 2 and afterwards.  This time, the rest of the world is intently watching the election development here in the United States because so much is at stake for the world.  If Bush is re�lected, we may see more of the same.  However, if Kerry comes out victorious, then we may see change coming very soon.  The action of al-Qaeda and Mr. Bush had plunged the world into chaos.  I hope that one part of the equation will be altered through adult suffrage on November 2, 2004.


Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA

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