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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Tie Votes in California Elections

The Secretary of State must summon the candidates who have received tie votes to appear before him or her

By Chris Micheli, January 27, 2022 3:32 pm

On rare occasions, there can be a tie vote in an election. California law provides guidance in such instances. Contained in Elections Code Division 15, Chapter 10, the rules are found in Sections 15650 to 15673. Article 1 deals with elections other than primary elections. Section 15651 specifies that, if in an election two or more persons receive an equal and the highest number of votes for an office, the Secretary of State must summon the candidates who have received the tie votes to appear before him or her at the Secretary of State’s office at the State Capitol at a time to be designated by him or her. The Secretary of State must at that time and place determine the tie by lot.

Section 15652 specifies that, if the tie vote has been determined by lot, the person declared elected by the Secretary of State or the election board is entitled to a certificate of election. The Secretary of State, the county elections official or the city elections official must immediately make out and deliver to that person a certificate of election.

Section 15653 requires, when two or more persons have an equal and highest number of votes for either Governor or Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State is required to deliver a certificate to that effect to each of the tied candidates. Each tied candidate may present the certificate to the Legislature in the manner that he or she sees fit.

Section 15654 requires, in case any two or more persons have an equal and highest number of votes for either Governor or Lieutenant Governor, the Legislature must, by a joint vote of both houses, choose one of the persons to fill the office.

Article 2 deals with primary elections. Section 15670 specifies that this article applies only to candidates for delegates to a national convention for the nomination of party candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, as well as candidates for nomination at the direct primary to offices other than nonpartisan offices or voter-nominated offices.

Section 15671 requires, in case of a tie vote for member of a county central committee, where the office is to be voted for wholly within one county, the election board must summon the candidates who have received tie votes to appear before it, at a time and place to be designated by the board, and the board must at that time and place determine the tie by lot.

Section 15672 requires, in the case of a tie vote for an office other than a judicial or school office to be voted on in more than one county, the Secretary of State must summon the candidates who have received tie votes to appear before him or her at his or her office at the State Capitol at a time to be designated by him or her and the Secretary of State must at that time and place determine the tie by lot.

Section 15673 provides that the summons mentioned in this article must in every case be mailed to the address of the candidate as it appears upon his or her affidavit of registration, at least five days before the day fixed for the determination of the tie vote.

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One thought on “Tie Votes in California Elections

  1. How, if at all does this ruling impact past and future elections?
    “Judge Rules Newsom’s Election Order Violated California Constitution” thecentersquare.com

    So much to overcome… changes in primary that allow one party choice in general election; people told they already voted when showing up at polls to vote in-person; sharpie-gate; ballot harvesting

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