Breaking a Tied Vote

An election in Michigan was settled by drawing straws. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

The election to fill a city council seat in Rogers City, Michigan wasn’t just close, it was a 616 to 616 vote tie.  So the opponents drew straws to pick the winner.  Really, that’s how you do it? Really. 49 states have laws on what to do in case of a tie; 28 states determine winners by drawing lots or similar random methods. 14 states say a tie means no candidate won, and a new election is called. And in most of the other states, the governor or the state legislature picks the winner. New Jersey is the one state that does not have a statute governing how to break a tie.

In Rogers City, the candidates agreed there were no hard feelings.  As WTOP News reported, the winner was quoted saying, “the people have spoken, and they said ‘eh, either one’.”  If only all candidates or voters for that matter, could resolve their disputes so amicably.

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