United States electoral college map showing number of electoral votes by state. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Unlike the number of electoral votes, there are 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, meaning that a majority vote is guaranteed. However, each state – and not each representative – gets one vote, based on the party majority.
So, for example, a vote among U.S. representatives from Maryland – which has seven Democrats and one Republican – would go to the Democratic candidate. A vote among U.S. representatives from Florida – which has 13 Democrats and 14 Republicans – would go to the Republican candidate.
Critics say this system is vastly disproportionate given that the Top 10 largest states, which have half the population, would 20% of the vote while the remaining 40 states, with less than half the population, would get 80% of the vote.
The vice president, meanwhile, would be chosen by the Senate in the case of a tie. This means that the U.S. could have a Republican president and Democratic vice president.
If the House can’t decide on the president, and the Senate has chosen a vice president, then the vice president would become the acting president until the matter was resolved.
If neither the Senate nor the House can pick someone, then the speaker of the House — in this case, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — would become acting president until both chambers of Congress decide on someone.