How Georgia Could Set the Electoral College Up for a Tie

With the U.S. presidential election still undecided, it is possible that both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump could both gain the same number of electoral college votes. The battleground state of Georgia may be the key.

A victory in Georgia would give 16 electoral votes to the winner. Some ballots are still being counted in the state, with indications pointing towards a tight race between Trump and Biden. Although traditionally a Republican state, there is an outside chance that Biden could pick up a victory in Georgia.

There are 538 total U.S. electoral votes available. According to the Associated Press, Biden currently holds 264 electoral votes while Trump has 214 electoral votes.

In order for there to be a tie in the electoral college, with each candidate receiving 269 electoral votes, Biden would have to lose Arizona, Nevada and Georgia while winning North Carolina and one electoral vote from Maine. Maine splits up its four electoral votes by region.

While the results are not final, the Associated Press has projected a Biden win in Arizona, which carries 11 electoral votes. A victory in Nevada would allocate 6 electoral votes to the winner of the state. And in Maine, the AP has called three electoral votes for Biden, with one to Trump.

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With final tallies of mail-in ballots still outstanding, voting in Georgia could mean that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump may end up tying in the electoral college. Drew Angerer/Getty

Officials in Georgia have said that a final tally of mail-in ballots may be available this week. In a Wednesday news release, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that ballot counting could continue into Thursday.

"We're on pace to accomplish that responsibly, ensuring that the voice of every eligible voter is heard," Raffensberger wrote. "It's important to act quickly, but it's more important to get it right."

The Trump re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit in Georgia in an attempt to draw a distinction between ballots that arrived at polling places after Election Day.

In a Wednesday statement, Trump's campaign said the suit would "require all Georgia counties to separate any and all late-arriving ballots from all legally cast ballots to ensure a free, fair election in which only legal, valid ballots count."

If there is a tie in the electoral college, the president must be chosen by Congress. The House of Representatives would decide who becomes president while the U.S. Senate would choose the vice-president.

Members of the House from each state would cast votes as a unit on behalf of the state they represent. Instead of casting one vote per person for the candidate of their choice, representatives would only issue one collective vote. If the vice presidential choice is given to the Senate, each senator would vote individually for their candidate.

If neither the House nor the Senate can arrive at a majority vote for president and vice-president, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would serve as acting president until the Congress can arrive at a decision.

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign for comment.