Stories

The bizarre ways states settle election ties

Someone has their hand in a bowl to draw names to settle an election tie
Slips of paper are drawn from a bowl to determine the winner of the 2017 election for a seat on the Virginia House of Delegates. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty

Republicans were literally lucky in keeping control of the Virginia legislature last week, with Republican candidate David Yancey's name being pulled out of a bowl to settle a tie that decided the majority.

Why it matters: Virginia isn't the only state with strange tie-breaking traditions. State laws in 27 states prescribe that ties be broken by a drawing of lots, 15 call for a new election and other states call for legislature votes or the governor or election board to decide.