SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – In an election that saw record breaking turnout, votes slowly trickle in at key battle ground states, delaying the result of a clear presidential winner for the longest time since 2000.
A victor was not declared in that race against Al Gore and George W. Bush until December 12, 2000, just two days before the Electoral College voted for the president and after a fierce legal battle that reached the Supreme Court.
While there are many events that would need to happen this year to reach Inauguration Day on January 20 without a winner, what would happen if there wasn’t one?
If there is no clear winner in the Electoral College, the 12th amendment is evoked and the Congress that enters in January would chose the top occupants of the Executive branch, with the House of Representatives voting for president and the Senate choosing the vice president.
Each state delegation in the House would get one vote, with 26 needed to declare a winner. For the vice president, each Senator casts a vote, with 51 needed for the winner.
Only Quincy Adams has been named president under the 12th amendment in 1825.
If the House can’t come to an agreement by January 20, then the vice president-elect voted by the Senate would serve as acting president, per the 20th Amendment, until the House resolves itself.
In the unlikely event that neither a president or vice-president has not been established via the 12th Amendment by January 20, the Presidential Succession Act would go into effect making the speaker of the House, currently Nancy Pelosi, the acting president until Congress can decide.