Posted on November 3, 2020

Watch Out for Chaotic Election Outcomes

Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, November 3, 2020

To win a presidential race, a candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes, not simply more votes than anyone else. It’s possible that neither candidate will reach that number tonight. Here are three examples of how Joe Biden and Donald Trump could both win 269 electoral votes. If there is a tie, Congress decides who becomes president; that happened in 1824.

The last of the three maps that end in a tie, in which Donald Trump holds Arizona and North Carolina, wins Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, but loses Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania is the most likely. What could then save the President is Maine, one of the few states where electoral votes aren’t “winner take all.” In 2016, Mr. Trump won one of its four votes. If he did that again, as in the map below, he would win by two electoral votes.

There are also “faithless electors.” Some members of the electoral college are not bound to vote the same way as the majority in their states, though usually, only one or two ignore the popular vote. In 2004, one Minnesota electoral vote went to John Edwards. In 1976, one from the state of Washington went to Ronald Reagan. In 1972, one Virginian electoral vote went to John Hospers, the libertarian. But in 2016, seven faithless electors ditched the two main candidates, costing Donald Trump two electoral votes and Hillary Clinton five. If today’s election is close, faithless electors could prevent either candidate from winning.

Finally, there are mail-in ballots. A record number of people are voting by mail this year, and three important states, by law, do not start counting them until election day: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In 2016, Donald Trump won all three states by less than one percent. This year, all three will have to tabulate millions of mail-in ballots. Politico wrote:

Mail ballot processing involves everything from opening envelopes to checking voter signatures to flattening ballots that have been crumpled or creased in transit. The procedures can be time consuming, and that will create a backlog of millions of votes set to draw out the counting process for days after the polls close.

That means that the country may be waiting, along with voters in the three Midwestern states, to see whether Trump or Joe Biden carried their electoral votes — and potentially the presidency.

Unless Joe Biden wins Ohio and Florida on election night, these three midwestern states will determine the outcome.

Many pundits have written about the potential for violence in the days after the election. Writing in Atlantic, Shadi Hami worried that if Donald Trump wins reelection, leftists are likely to riot — so people who care about “law and order” should vote for Mr. Biden. Lefties could easily riot over a clear Trump victory, but an unclear outcome that was unresolved for days could be worse. If Congress or the Supreme Court had to pick the winner, partisans of either party could feel cheated. There are plenty of recipes for violence.

After you vote today, go home and stay safe.