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Electoral nightmare looms // What if we can't decide?
[FINAL Edition]
USA TODAY (pre-1997 Fulltext) - McLean, Va.
Author: McCaughey, Elizabeth
Date: May 26, 1992
Start Page: 11.A
Section: NEWS
Abstract (Document Summary)

OPINION USA;Voters must demand commitments for handling electoral college deadlock.;The latest USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll shows Ross Perot even with President [George Bush] and ahead of Bill Clinton. If none can garner the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, the House may be forced to select the next president.;Elizabeth McCaughey is a constitutional scholar at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in New York.

Let's say that the electoral college is deadlocked, and Perot, in third place, instructs his delegates to switch their votes to Clinton in order to defeat Bush. States whose voters go for Perot Nov. 3 will not expect their electoral college delegates to vote for Clinton. A loss of public confidence in the fairness of the electoral process and the right of the winner to govern will cause a crisis of legitimacy.

Voters should insist that each presidential candidate tell them forthrightly what he will do in the event of a deadlock. If Perot is contemplating such an electoral college deal, he is duty-bound to say before Nov. 3 that ``A vote for Perot is, in the first instance, a vote for me, but, no matter what happens, a vote for change.'' Clinton and Bush are under the same duty.

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