What is a Tie Vote?

Tie Vote / Tie Votes

In a company, the power to make key business decisions lies with the board of directors. Since several different opinions can come into play, it is possible to face a decision where directors don’t see eye-to-eye. If a vote on a specific motion ends in a 50-50 division of the board – a tie vote – there are several steps to take to come to a conclusive result. 

How to break a tie vote 

According to Rober’s Rules of Order, it takes a majority vote — two-thirds in some instances — for a motion to pass. The following ways can be adopted to break a tie vote: 

Verify the accuracy of votes 

The first method is to confirm the accuracy of the votes by performing a recount and ensuring it really was a tie vote. If the vote was performed by a secret ballot, count the ballots again. If a roll call vote was taken, ask the board members to repeat their votes in the same manner. 

Allow the chair to cast the deciding vote 

The board may allow the chair to cast a vote to break the tie, given that the chair has not already voted. Although the chair holds voting rights on all matters, their vote is typically reserved until needed to break a tie. 

Refer to byelaws for any special procedures 

A company’s byelaws often specify alternative routes to take in case of a deadlocked vote. Boards can refer to them to understand the preferred procedure of breaking a tied vote. 

Maintain the status quo 

If a tie cannot be broken by any means, it implies that the motion is lost and business continues as usual. In this case, the board may choose to maintain the status quo by continuing with the current state of affairs and not adopting the suggestions in the motion. 

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