Congratulations! It’s a … tie?

How To Perform a Runoff Election With ElectionBuddy

Your election has ended. Anticipation rises as you go to view the results. Like a kid on Christmas morning, you run to your computer, log into your ElectionBuddy account, click on your election’s name, and … your eyes widen in dread. There is a tie for the winner.

The democratic way to decide a winner when you end up with a tie is to do a runoff election. A runoff election is when a secondary election is held with only the tied candidates and questions on the ballot.

Don’t panic. ElectionBuddy is well-equipped to help you with your runoff election. Although you didn’t plan on having to take this extra step, ElectionBuddy makes running a runoff easy for you; simply duplicate the election, edit the ballot, and send it out!

Why Is It Important to Do a Runoff?

Regardless of whether you feel like runoff elections are a real-life nightmare, they are important to the election process. This is because it ensures that the person elected is the one you organization members would truly prefer.

Your organization most likely has some rules in place regarding runoff elections so be sure to check those before starting your runoff. By putting the tied opponents in an election against each other, it allows your members to choose the candidate that they prefer out of the tied candidates.

How to Make Your Runoff Successful

Essentially, all your runoff election needs to do is list the members who are in a tie. You can do this by editing your ballot and removing the questions and candidates that were not part of the tie — super simple!

Other things that help increase the turnout for your runoff include:

Runoff Coin

What Happens If Your Runoff Ends in a Tie, Too?

My suggestion for you is to flip a coin and hope. Just kidding, you might not want to leave the declaration of the winner to flipping a coin (unless maybe if you are in P.E.I). Depending on your organization, you might have to keep positioning your candidates and options against each other until one is elected the winner. However, your organization might have some rules in place in the event of a tie and then another tie, so please be sure to reference your organization’s bylaws before going forward with another runoff.

Those are all the tips and tricks I have for you! If you have any questions about this process, please contact us at, or check out our help article on the runoff process as well.

The results are in…and they state that the majority of ElectionBuddy users don’t know how to properly run an Approval vote.

After noticing some users who were using the Approval voting method incorrectly, we wanted to look at the total number of Approval elections being run on our site. So, we complied our internal data for 324 elections using the voting method. We then analyzed those elections. Unfortunately, the results are not good. We found that almost 65% of our users who were using an Approval voting method were using it incorrectly.  That’s alarmingly high.

Why is this? 

Well, the most common misuse of the Approval vote we saw was the use of it in a “Yes/No” scenario. The concept of “approving” a single item, such as one candidate or one bylaw amendment, can be very misleading. When approving a single item, you cannot use an Approval voting method. 

“So, what is an Approval voting method? When do we use it?”

Approval voting ballot
Approval Ballot

The Approval voting method is a single-winner electoral system. When voting, the voter chooses any options that they approve of. The option most collectively approved of wins.

To illustrate what that means, take a look at the sample ballot on the left.

If you had received this ballot to vote on, you would select any of the candidates that you approve of for the position of vice-president. The candidate most approved-of wins. To reiterate, a voter can select and vote for all of the listed candidates. 

When the Approval Voting Method Goes Wrong

Approval voting ballot used for referendum
Referendum setup using an approval method

As mentioned earlier, the most common misuse of the voting method was in “Yes/No” situations. Based on the above information, it is clear that the voting method does not work on a “Yes/No”. 

Here is another sample ballot on the right. This exemplifies why an approval voting method is not the same thing as, for example, approving a bylaw amendment.

Voter verifying approval voting choices
Verifying the selected options when approving a bylaw

If this was set up with the correct voting method (what we call a Referendum), you would not be able to select both “Yes” and “No” and submit your ballot. Our error-checker stops you when you attempt to verify. But, with the approval voting method, a voter can choose both.

You can bet your bottom dollar that this voter will be able to submit this ballot successfully, too. This ballot submission makes no sense. If you were to have voters submit ballots like this, your results would be nonsensical as well. 

Don’t compromise your results — use the Approval voting method properly.

This voting method is a great voting method when used correctly: it’s simple, quick, and is an excellent alternative to a Plurality vote (because a voter can choose all the candidates they would be okay with seeing elected into the position, as opposed to just one). But, like any improper tool for the job, it’s useless in the wrong situations.

When deciding on a voting method, it is important to ask yourself if the behaviour makes sense for what you’re trying to accomplish. Always make sure you have your critical-thinking hat on. But, if you are ever unsure or want a second opinion, just shoot us an email at  — we are always here to help!

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