Most states use a winner-takes-all approach for Electoral votes. What if a state's popular vote is tied? For example, Florida in 2000 was extremely close. Bush received 2,912,790 votes and Gore received 2,912,253, a difference of only 537.

Hypothetically, what if the difference were 0? How would the tie be broken? Who would have received Florida's electoral votes?

I've tried to google this but results are confounded by many many articles describing a 269-269 tie in the electoral college. I'm interested in breaking a tie at the state level, not the national level.

  • 5
    Close races are usually resolved with the copious application of lawyers. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 16:12
  • 1
    @jeffronicus While that might be true the law doesn't allow for a tie which is what is being asked.
    – Joe W
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


The state would break the tie based on the rules it has setup for a tie vote and the winner of the tie breaker would get the votes. While the information I provided pertains to a legislative vote the general principle remains the same in that a winner has to be declared by breaking any ties.


27 states determine winners by drawing of lots or similar random methods. 15 states consider that a tie vote means no candidate won the seat, and a new election is called. Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia determine winners by having the winner selected either by the governor or by the state board of elections. Nevada and New Hampshire determine winners by a joint vote of the state legislature. North Carolina bifurcates its tiebreaking system: if a state legislative election involves fewer than 5,000 votes, the tie is broken by the canvassing board which oversaw the election. If a state legislative election involves greater than 5,000 votes, a special election is held between the tied candidates. New Jersey does not have a statute governing the breaking of tie votes. Hawaii uses an “election points” system to determine the winner.

  • 1
    An option that exists for the Presidential election that does not exist for legislature seats is to split the Electors. Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 15:20
  • 2
    @JörgWMittag That is only if state law allows for it and all but two states are winner take all elections. The two states that are not winner take all split them up into 1 for each house district and 2 for the overall winner in the state.
    – Joe W
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 15:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .