In countries that have parliamentary systems, such as many European countries, ties in parliamentary elections are uncommon. For example, in the United Kingdom, ties have occurred only 49 times in the past 200 years. In the event that a tie does occur, a recount -- called a second ballot -- is performed.

When a Recount Fails

If a recount fails, by law, the returning officer -- who generally doesn't vote -- is required to settle the election immediately. He chooses the method by which a tie will be broken. The most common method involves each candidate writing his name on a piece of paper and placing it in a hat. The returning officer blindly chooses a slip, and whichever candidate's name is on the slip receives the returning officer's vote, making him the winner by one vote. Other methods have included tossing a coin toss or picking a card.