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Pelosi urges Democrats to win more House seats in the event of Electoral College dispute in presidential election

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WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Democrats to win more House seats if a scenario unfolds in which the House of Representatives would vote to determine the outcome of the presidential election in November.

In a letter to Democrats on Sunday, Pelosi outlined an option in which neither President Donald Trump nor former Vice President Joe Biden win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, meaning the House of Representatives would have to decide the election by a vote. Pelosi referenced remarks from Trump, who said in mid-September that "at a certain point, it (the election) goes to Congress." 

Under the 12th Amendment, the vote in the House would take part in two stages. First, members of Congress would vote among their state delegations for president, the winner of each state determined by a simple majority of the state's congressional members. Then the votes of all 50 state delegations in Congress would be tallied to determine the final election outcome. The candidate who wins the most states would win the election. 

The House last voted to determine the president in the 1824 election, when a majority of state delegations voted to award the presidency to John Quincy Adams, despite Andrew Jackson's victory in the popular vote. 

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Pelosi said the upcoming elections could be the deciding factor if such a scenario were to happen, telling Democrats, "How many state delegations the Democrats win in this upcoming election could determine who our next President is." 

Democrats are favored to keep control of the House in November, though Republicans hold a majority of state delegations. Republicans control 26 state delegations, Democrats control 22, and two delegations – Pennsylvania and Michigan – are tied. 

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"We must achieve that majority of delegations or keep the Republicans from doing so," Pelosi said.

Contributing: Christal Hayes