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The U.S. Electoral Process: Contingent Elections

What is a Contingent Election?

If no candidate wins at least 270 electoral votes, the election of the President and Vice President moves to

  • The U.S. House of Representatives for the president
  • The U.S. Senate for the vice president

This is called a contingent election. The elections of 1800 and 1824 were decided in this way.

Find Out More

Common Interpretation: Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3
From the National Constitution Center, Interactive Constitution

"Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis"
From the Congressional Research Service (2016)

Electoral College & Indecisive Elections

"Presidents Must Be Elected Popularly: Examining Proposals and Identying the Natural Endpoint of Electoral College Reform"
From the Fordham University School of Law: Democracy and Constitution Clinic (2020)