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In case of a tie vote in Florida, the winner will be decided by drawing lots

In New Mexico an election tie can be resolved with a hand of poker, if a judge approves it  

In this story:

How to break the tie?

The New Mexico solution


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When all the legal wrangling in Florida is over and all the ballots are counted, what if Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush receive the same number of votes for president?

How to break the tie?

A Florida law offers a decidedly low-tech way out of the dilemma: The winner is determined by drawing lots, or objects of varying sizes.

Florida law: Determination of person elected

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Statute 100.181 says in part: "In case two or more persons receive an equal and highest number of votes for the same office, such persons shall draw lots to determine who shall be elected to the office."

"In terms of all the bizarre twists, I would call this the most bizarre," said Johnny Burris, who teaches election law and the Florida Constitution at Nova Southeastern University's law school.

He said some local elections have been decided by drawing lots under the statute, passed in 1941, but never a statewide election and certainly not a presidential election in Florida.

Notice that the law "doesn't specify how they draw the lots," Burris said. "It could be balls in a hat, you could draw straws."

The New Mexico solution

In New Mexico, where the presidential race was also close, the state constitution calls for a game of chance to resolve a tie.

And one game of chance is not favored over another, though a judge would have to decide what type of game the candidates would have to play.

"Drawing straws. Flipping a coin. Drawing a hand of cards. It doesn't, necessarily, have to be poker. A dice roll. All of those possibilities would probably fit within what our constitution calls a game of chance," said John Dendahl, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party.

CNN Correspondent Greg Lamotte and Correspondent Raju Chebium contributed to this report

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Florida State Courts
Opinions of the Supreme Court of Florida - Provided by the University of Florida Levin College of Law
Florida Attorney General Web site
Florida law: Electors and elections
Florida law: Conducting elections and ascertaining the results

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