What happens if the election ends in a tie?

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As Election Day draws closer and national polling continues to tighten, the 2016 presidential race could turn out to be historically close. So close that the prospects of an electoral tie between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton isn't necessarily impossible.

How many electoral college votes does it take to win?

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

So, what happens if there is a tie?

If there is a tie, with two candidates receiving 269 electoral votes, or a third-party candidate secures enough electoral votes to prevent either the Democratic or Republican candidate from reaching that 270 vote threshold, the House of Representatives decides the president.

In that scenario, each state delegation comes together to cast one state vote for the president -- allowing members of whichever party dominates the House of Representatives for that state to decide which candidate the state will back.

A presidential nominee must win 26 states to win the White House. The Senate will then pick the vice president, with each Senator getting one vote. This can mean the president and vice president can come from different parties. Both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans going into the 2016 presidential election, meaning that party's members would be able to choose the winner.

Wait, what is the electoral college?

The electoral college is a group made up of 538 U.S. citizens who come together to formally cast votes to choose the president and vice president of the United States. The number 538 is based on the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the U.S. Senate, along with 3 electors from Washington D.C. -- but the people who are in the electoral college are not those elected lawmakers. In most states, political parties choose the electors who will have pledged to vote for their party's candidate. When you cast a ballot for a candidate

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Donald Trump's long history of presidential runs
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Donald Trump's long history of presidential runs

1988: Donald Trump is widely publicized as saying the world is 'laughing at America's politicians' but, ultimately, did not begin a campaign

(Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

2000: Trump sought the nomination of the Reform Party with an exploratory committee

Business and real estate tycoon Donald Trump talks with reporters, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 1999, in Hartford, Conn. Trump was in Hartford to meet with national Reform Party leaders to discuss his possible bid for president. (AP Photo/Steve Miller)

New York developer and potential Reform Party presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and Minnesota Govenor Jesse Ventura (R) take questions at a news conference after Trump gave a speech at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon 07 January 2000 in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. (Photo credit should read CRAIG LASSIG/AFP/Getty Images)

2004: Trump stated he was "very seriously" considering a bid for the White House.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky JAZ)

2008: Trump said he would not run for Governor of New York, but a source close to the businessman said he was "definitely interested in running for president."

(Photo by Bill McCay/WireImage)

2012: Trump reportedly dropped out of the race in order to continue hosting his television show, The Apprentice.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Businessman and possible Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce Expo luncheon in Nashua, New Hampshire May 11, 2011. (Photo via REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Donald Trump (C) announces his endorsement of Republican hopeful Mitt Romney (R) with wife Ann (L) at Trump International Hotel & Tower February 2, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada ahead of the February 4 Nevada caucus. (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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