Electoral votes by state; What if there's a tie? (It could happen)

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Kaley O'Kelley

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 6 at 12:17 PM

When you vote for a presidential candidate you are really voting to instruct the electors from your state to cast their votes for the same candidate. Based on population growth documented in the 2010 census, Arizona picked an 11th elector.

Total electors: 538

Magic number to win the White House: 270

The District of Columbia and 48 states, including Arizona, have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. That means the candidate who receives a majority of the popular vote, or a plurality of the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate), takes all of the state’s electoral votes.

Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not go by the winner-takes-all rule. Both of those state allocate their electoral votes proportionally.

Each state's electors will meet on Dec. 17 in their home states and cast their votes for president and vice president. Congress will meet on Jan. 6, 2013, to do the official tally. Vice President Joe Biden will preside and declare the winner, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2013.

Arizona's place in th Electoral College

According to Politico.com, polling averages show that Mitt Romney leads 52.5 percent to President Barack Obama's 45 percent. That means it's likely that Romney win Arizona's 11 electoral votes. Arizona is historically a red state.

Arizona has voted Republican in nine of the last 10 elections. The single exception was in 1996 when Bill Clinton won his second term.

In seven of the last 10 elections, Arizona has voted with the winning candidate, the exceptions being 1976 (Jimmy Carter), 1992 (Clinton) and 2008 (Barack Obama).

Swing states; What if there's a tie?

Swing states in this election include Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10). That's 110 electoral votes, and those votes could make a huge difference.

Public opinion researcher Dr. Mike O'Neil sat down with 3TV's Kaley O'Kelley to discuss several possible scenarios with those swing states. (Click video above to watch.)

If there is a tie in Electoral College -- which is a possibility, albeit a remote one -- the newly sworn-in House of Representative will elect the president. With each state getting one vote, pundits say they will choose Romney. A majority of 26 votes is needed.

The Senate will select the vice president. A majority of 51 votes is needed. Democrats hold 53 seats, which means they probably will select Joe Biden.

Breakdown of electors by state (See map above)

  • Alabama - 9, unchanged. The state's population increased by 332,636 or 7.5 percent to 4,779,736 in 2010.
  • Alaska - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 83,299 or 13.3 percent to 710,231 in 2010.
  • Arizona - 11, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 1,261,385 or 24.6 percent to 6,392,017 in 2010.
  • Arkansas - 6, unchanged. The state's population increased by 242,518 or 9.1 percent to 2,915,918 in 2010.
  • California - 55, unchanged. The state's population increased by 3,382,308 or 10 percent to 37,253,956 in 2010.
  • Colorado - 9, unchanged. The state's population increased by 727,935 or 16.9 percent to 5,029,196 in 2010.
  • Connecticut - 7, unchanged. The state's population increased by 168,532 or 4.9 percent to 3,574,097 in 2010.
  • Delaware - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 114,334 or 14.6 percent to 897,934 in 2010.
  • District of Columbia - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 29,664 or 5.2 percent to 601,723 in 2010.
  • Florida - 29, an increase of 2 electoral votes. The state's population increased by 2,818,932 or 17.6 percent to 18,801,310 in 2010.
  • Georgia - 16, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 1,501,200 or 18.3 percent to 9,687,653 in 2010.
  • Hawaii - 4, unchanged. The state's population increased by 148,764 or 12.3 percent to 1,360,301 in 2010.
  • Idaho - 4, unchanged. The state's population increased by 273,629 or 21.1 percent to 1,567,582 in 2010
  • Illinois - 20, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 411,339 or 3.3 percent to 12,830,632 in 2010.
  • Indiana - 11, unchanged. The state's population increased by 403,317 or 6.6. percent to 6,483,802 in 2010.
  • Iowa - 6, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 120,031 or 4.1 percent to 3,046,355 in 2010.
  • Kansas - 6, unchanged. The state's population increased by 164,700 or 6.1 percent to 2,853,118 in 2010.
  • Kentucky - 8, unchanged. The state's population increased by 297,598 or 7.4 percent to 4,339,367 in 2011.
  • Louisiana - 8, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 64,396 or 1.4 percent to 4,533,372 in 2010.
  • Maine - 4, unchanged. The state's population increased by 53,438 or 4.2 percent to 1,328,361 in 2010.
  • Maryland - 10, unchanged. The state's population increased by 477,066 or 9 percent to 5,773,552 in 2010.
  • Massachusetts - 11, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 198,532 or 3.1 percent to 6,547,629 in 2010.
  • Michigan - 16, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population fell by 54,804 or 0.6 percent to 9,883,640 in 2010.
  • Minnesota - 10, unchanged. The state's population increased by 384,446 or 7.8 percent to 5,303,925 in 2010.
  • Mississippi - 6, unchanged. The state's population increased by 122,639 or 4.3 percent to 2,967,297 in 2010.
  • Missouri - 10, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 393,716 or 7 percent to 5,988,927 in 2010.
  • Montana - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 87,220 or 9.7 percent to 989,415 in 2010.
  • Nebraska - 5, unchanged. The state's population increased by 115,078 or 6.7 percent to 1,826,341 in 2010.
  • Nevada - 6, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 702,294 or 35.1 percent to 2,700,551 in 2010.
  • New Hampshire - 4, unchanged. The state's population increased by 80,684 6.5 percent to 1,316,470 in 2010.
  • New Jersey - 14, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 377,544 or 4.5 percent to 8,791,894 in 2010.
  • New Mexico - 5, unchanged. The state's population increased by 240,133 or 13.2 percent to 2,059,179 in 2010.
  • New York - 29, a decrease of 2 electoral votes. The state's population increased by 401,645 or 2.1 percent to 19,378,102 in 2010.
  • North Carolina - 15, unchanged. The state's population increased by 1,486,170 or 18.5 percent to 9,535,483 in 2010.
  • North Dakota - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 30,391 or 4.7 percent to 672,591 in 2010.
  • Ohio - 18, a decrease of 2 electoral votes. The state's population increased by 183,364 or 1.6 percent to 11,536,504 in 2010.
  • Oklahoma - 7, unchanged. The state's population increased by 300,697 or 8.7 percent to 3,751,351 in 2010.
  • Oregon - 7, unchanged. The state's population increased by 409,675 or 12 percent to 3,831,074 in 2010.
  • Pennsylvania - 20, a decrease of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 421,325 or 3.4 percent to 12,702,379 in 2010.
  • Rhode Island - 4, unchanged. The state's population increased by 4,248 or 0.4 percent to 1,052,567 in 2010.
  • South Carolina - 9, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 613,352 or 15.3 percent to 4,625,364 in 2010.
  • South Dakota - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 59,336 or 7.9 percent to 814,180 in 2010.
  • Tennessee - 11, unchanged. The state's population increased by 656,822 or 11.5 percent to 6,346,105 in 2010.
  • Texas - 38, an increase of 4 electoral votes. The state's population increased by 4,293,741 or 20.6 percent to 25,145,561 in 2010.
  • Utah - 6, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 530,716 or 23.8 percent to 2,763,885 in 2010.
  • Vermont - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 16,914 or 2.8 percent to 625,741 in 2010.
  • Virginia - 13, unchanged. The state's population increased by 922,509 or 13 percent to 8,001,024 in 2010.
  • Washington - 12, an increase of 1 electoral vote. The state's population increased by 830,419 or 14.1 percent to 6,724,540 in 2010.
  • West Virginia - 5, unchanged. The state's population increased by 44,650 or 2.5 percent to 1,852,994 in 2010.
  • Wisconsin - 10, unchanged. The state's population increased by 323,311 or 6 percent to 5,686,986 in 2010.
  • Wyoming - 3, unchanged. The state's population increased by 69,844 or 14.1 percent to 563,626 in 2010.

Source: U.S. Electoral College on Archives.gov

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