RICHMOND, Va. — When voters can’t pick a winner, sometimes lady luck has to step in.
Control of Virginia’s state House could be decided at random next week when election officials draw names to decide the winner in a tied state legislative race.
To settle the tie, the state elections board plans to print each candidate’s name on a separate piece of paper, place each paper into a separate film canister, place the canisters into a glass bowl or some other container and shake them up. The canister containing the winner’s name will be pulled out at random.
A look at how other tied elections have been settled:
- A seat on the Esmeralda County Commission in Nevada was decided 15 years ago in Old-West style at an ornate courthouse of a once-bustling mining town. The county clerk-treasurer shuffled a deck and fanned the cards out on a table like a casino dealer.
- Both candidates drew jacks, but the Democrat’s spade beat out the Republican’s diamond. The winner hugged his wife, while the loser wiped away a tear.
- Two years ago in Mississippi, two House candidates broke a tie by reaching into a red canvas bag and pulling out a silver-plated business card boxes engraved with the state’s name. The winner drew the box with a longer straw in it.
- This year in Manteo, North Carolina, settling an election to the town commission required two recounts, a drawing of straws and a coin toss.
- When a city council candidate in Heyburn, Idaho, lost a coin toss after his November race, he called for a recount. Officials found one extra vote and he won, 113-112.
- In Alaska in 2006, a coin flip broke the tie in a Democratic primary for a state House seat. The incumbent called “heads” and lost. Six years later, a candidate in an Ohio city council race called “tails” and lost.