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<I>If by Jan. 20, when President Clinton's term runs out, there is no sure winner between Gore and Bush, who will be the legal president of the United States? </I>

Professor Richard Levy of the Kansas University Law School replied:

It's unlikely that on Jan. 20 no one will have been elected president. The Electoral College, which meets in December, elects the president. The candidate receiving 270 votes in the college becomes president.

The fight in Florida is about who wins the state's popular vote, which determines who wins the state's electoral votes, which would be enough for Bush or Gore to win a majority in the college.

If a candidate cannot win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives picks the president and the Senate picks the vice president. If the House has not picked a president, but the Senate has picked a vice president, then the vice president becomes president. The 22nd Amendment prohibits Clinton from serving a third term.

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