Suppose candidates Alice and Bob are running for US House of Representatives in a Colorado district, and are the only people to do so in that district. The final vote tally (after whatever challenges Alice and Bob decide to throw) comes out to a tie. How would the tie be broken?

1 Answer 1


Election procedures are generally a matter of state law, so the process will be different from one state to the next. In Colorado, the law in question is Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-11-101:

If at any general or congressional vacancy election ... any two or more persons tie for the highest number of votes ... for representative in congress ... the secretary of state shall proceed to determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected.

The question then becomes how the secretary of state will "determine by lot" who is the winner. As far as I can tell, this process is not established by statute, nor has the secretary of state promulgated any administrative regulations establishing a system for drawing lots. In other states, it typically comes down to something quite random: flipping coins, drawing names from a hat, dealing poker, etc; I assume the secretary of state could choose any of these.

The answer could be different for other races, though. Both chambers of the General Assembly would vote on a joint ballot to decide a tie in a race for governor, secretary of state, treasurer, or attorney general.

This also assumes that Bob and Alice are facing off in the general election, not the primary. In a primary, tying candidates get to choose their own tiebreaker. If they can't agree on one, the secretary of state chooses by lot.

  • 1
    Kudos for completeness.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 4, 2022 at 18:43

You must log in to answer this question.

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