A New Mexico election for a judge was decided Tuesday by coin toss after the two candidates tied in the primary race. Kenneth Howard Jr. and Robert Baca, both Democrats, received 2,879 votes in their June 3 primary in McKinley County, the Gallup Independent reported. According to New Mexico law, tie breakers are to be decided by lot. Howard won the coin toss, which was done by a Democratic official, and because there was no Republican opponent for the job, he will become the northwestern New Mexico county’s newest magistrate judge. New Mexico is one of 35 states that determines tied elections by a coin toss or some other means of chance, according to state constitutions, statues, and election legislation reviewed by The Washington Post.
Most states are vague in how exactly these lots are to be cast, but a few are specific. Idaho calls for a coin toss. Oklahoma requires the names of the two candidates are to be written on paper and pulled from a container by the Secretary of the State Election Board (see §26-8-105). In North Carolina, if fewer than 5,000 people voted, lots will be cast, but if it’s more than that, state statute requires another election be held.