Whenever the Office of President of the United States becomes vacant, whether by resignation, impeachment, ill health, whatever, the reason is immaterial.

Naturally, the Vice President takes over the presidency. No problem: sadly, it's happened before.

One of the new President's necessary acts is to select a new Vice-President, to fill out the remainder of the term before the next election. The selection must be approved by both the House and the Senate. However, the Senate is evenly split at 50 - 50.

Now there have been tie votes in the Senate, and they are resolved by the President of the Senate casting a deciding vote if he/she so chooses.

But, Constitutionally, the Vice-President is the President of the Senate! And there isn't one yet! The tie vote is to confirm the selection of a Vice-President!

So, in the absence of a Vice-President, how is a tie in a Senate vote decided?

2 Answers 2


The Twenty-fifth Amendment states:

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Thus, in the absence of a majority the candidate would be denied the office.

  • ...and then what?
    – Strawberry
    Nov 2, 2018 at 18:20
  • 4
    the new president would have to appoint another candidate and the process would start all over... technically. In reality they would know the results before the voting ever began and would probably pick another candidate going into the confirmation hearings.
    – Cos Callis
    Nov 2, 2018 at 18:21
  • 7
    @DJohnM nobody
    – Cos Callis
    Nov 2, 2018 at 19:57
  • 2
    There have been extended periods in the past when there was no vice president, mostly before the adoption of the 25th Amendment. For example, there was no Vice President from the death of Lincoln to the end of that presidential term, or rather to the start of the next term. Nov 2, 2018 at 22:13
  • 1
    The President pro tempore of the Senate presides over the Senate when there is no Vice President, or the VP is absent, but since that is always an already sitting senator, there is no extra tie-breaking vote. Nov 2, 2018 at 22:15

The general rule is that a tie vote in either house of Congress loses. Thus in the absence of a majority of each house voting to confirm, that nominee is not confirmed, and does not take office.

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