What Actually Happens If No One Gets 270 Electoral Votes

A tie in the 2020 election might be the final straw that takes us all over the edge. Although it is unlikely that both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will each win 269 Electoral College votes, it would be utter mayhem if such a thing were to transpire. 

For those that need a refresher, the Electoral College refers to the number of electors in each state — a figure that is roughly based on the size of its population. This leads to candidate's battling over states that have the most electors to help them reach more than 270 votes, according to The New York Times. If a tie occurs, "the decision goes to the newly seated House of Representatives, with each state voting as a unit," the NYT reported. "...If there is a tie vote in a state's delegation, the state's vote would not count. A presidential candidate needs at least 26 votes to win."

What would a scenario like that look like between Republican incumbent Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden? Let's take a look.

A tie could potentially work in Donald Trump's favor

In the unlikely event that the 2020 election resulted in a tie, the situation would be the "messiest scenario possible," New York Times political correspondent Alexander Burns said on the outlet's podcast The Daily. "If that were to happen, I think the conventional wisdom is that Republicans would probably be favored" (via New York Post).

If neither presidential candidate can reach 270 electoral college votes and the nation needs the U.S. House of Representatives to break the tie, Trump may have the advantage. Most members of the House would vote along party lines, and the current majority in each state leans red, according to The New York Times. Going into Election Day, Republicans held 26 state delegates, while democrats controlled 22. With all House seats up for election, these numbers may change. 

Also worth noting: It is possible to lose the popular vote but still win the presidency. Although Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million in 2016, Trump took home the win with 57 percent of the Electoral College votes. Only time will tell how this election will end.