By NBC's David Murphy
It's one of those strange twists in the American political experiment - that the electoral college decides the presidency and not the popular vote. It's produced its share of controversial results - most recently, George W. Bush losing the popular vote but winning the White House in 2000. Nevertheless, even if you're ok with the electoral college system, the system as currently constructed has a flaw built in. The problem is with the number of electoral votes available - 538 - meaning it's possible for both candidates to reach 269 and neither to reach a majority. That political time bomb has never actually gone off, but this year, the chance that it could explode is more likely than it's been in a while. Here are three plausible election day scenarios that would get us to that point, depending on where the nine battleground states fall.
Obama wins: Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin
Romney wins: Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire
Obama wins: Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia
Romney wins: Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin
Obama wins: New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin
Romney wins: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia