NELF White Paper: 1825 to 2025 — A Modern Update to the House Rules on Contingent Elections. By Vincent Gritzuk

White Paper

1825 to 2025 — A Modern Update to the House Rules on Contingent Elections

By Vincent Gritzuk
Faberman Fellow

Executive Summary
Despite public perceptions, the 2020 presidential election was extremely close and was only 42,918 votes from a tie in the Electoral College. What happens if no presidential candidate wins in the Electoral College? If this happens, the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution only provides a broad framework for the House to pick the President and the Senate to pick the Vice President. This process, called a contingent election, has only occurred twice in the Nation’s history: in 1801 and 1825. The two-hundred-year gap between the last occurrence and the present day creates a need for updates to the House’s procedural rules to address modern issues that may arise throughout the process. This white paper analyzes the legal requirements for a contingent election, the past practices, and modern House practices to address these issues and develop modern procedural rules. With the stability and future of the country possibly resting upon this process, it is essential to establish rules that will provide a fair and transparent contingent election.





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