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A tiebreaker is a situation where two or more individuals share the same amount of votes at Tribal Council, with no other person receiving a higher amount. In this event, several instances may occur and have occurred over the course of the series.

Current Rules

Pre-Final Four

Unable to make a unanimous decision to break the tie, the Vinaka tribe is forced to take part in a lottery. The player that draws the odd-colored rock is sent home (Millennials vs. Gen X).

In the event of a tie prior to the final four Tribal Council, all tied contestants will not vote, and the non-tied contestants will have to vote again, but may only choose between the tied contestants. Whoever receives the highest amount of votes will be voted out. Hidden Immunity Idols and Extra Vote advantages cannot be played at revotes, but depending on the specifics of the advantage, their effects may carry over into the revote.

If the revote does not break the tie, the host may declare a deadlocked vote, after which he will allow the non-tied players to openly discuss who should be eliminated in front of the tied players and the jury. The decision has to be unanimous; otherwise, the tied players will be rendered immune, subjecting the non-immune, non-tied contestants to a lottery of rocks. The contestant with the odd-colored rock will be eliminated from the game instead.

If the revote breaks only part of the tie and the host declares a deadlocked vote, only those contestants tied at the revote are considered to be tied. However, in practice, a deadlock will not be declared in this scenario.

If all but two contestants are immune, and those two contestants are tied, no rock draw would occur as nobody would be eligible to draw rocks. In this instance, the two tied contestants would compete in a fire-making challenge.[1] It is unknown what would happen if more than two players are tied in this situation.

If all but one contestant is either immune or tied, no rock draw would occur as only one person would be eligible to draw rocks. That person would be automatically eliminated.[2]

Final Four (Vote)

If a 2-2 tie vote occurs at the final four Tribal Council, there will be no official revote and the two tied contestants will compete in a fire-making challenge, where the winner stays and the loser is eliminated.

Final Four (Forced Fire)

Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers modified the final four Tribal Council to automatically advance to fire-making without a vote. The winner of the Immunity Challenge would choose one other contestant to save, and the two remaining contestants would compete in a fire-making challenge.

As first seen in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, if the winner of the Immunity Challenge chooses to give away the Immunity Necklace, they retain the right to choose which other contestant is safe.[3] They cannot save the person they already gave the necklace to, as this would be redundant.

It is unknown whether the right to choose which other contestant is safe can be transferred.

Two-Person Tribe

If a pre-merge tribe enters Tribal Council with only two members, as happened to the Ulong tribe in Survivor: Palau, no official vote is held and the tribe goes straight to fire-making.[4] In this challenge, Stephenie LaGrossa defeated Bobby Jon Drinkard, sending the latter home.

It is unknown how this interacts with Hidden Immunity Idols or other advantages, as Palau predates the introduction of idols.

Null Votes

If a null vote (i.e. a vote where none of the votes cast count, possibly due to multiple Hidden Immunity Idols negating all votes) occurs, a vote restart would occur.

All of those who had gained individual immunity (e.g. those with the Immunity Necklace and the ones who played idols) during the regular vote are individually immune; this immunity cannot be passed before the restarted vote. This is a fully restarted vote with the non-immune contestants not considered "tied", so the non-immune contestants would remain eligible to vote; however, it is believed that idols and advantages cannot be played at a restarted vote. In the event that a restarted vote ties, it is treated the same as any other tie, even if everyone eligible to receive votes at the restart is part of the tie.[citation needed]

If there are only two eligible targets during a restart, those targets will be ineligible to vote, as they can only vote against each other. If there is only one eligible target during a restart, they are automatically eliminated, as they are they only person who can receive votes.

The first case of a null vote occurred in Survivor: Cambodia where Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth each negated three votes against them with idols. The vote restarted, but yet another tie occurred, this time between Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox. The contestants declined to revote when offered, confirming that their votes would stay the same, prompting the host to declare a deadlock and start an open discussion. The situation was complicated by the potential elimination by default of Keith Nale, the only person who would be left without immunity in the event of a rock draw. After discussion, the tribe unanimously decided to eliminate Kimmi.

The second null vote happened in Survivor: Game Changers, where three idols and a Legacy Advantage (which functioned as an idol) were played; and with five players immune (including the wearer of the Immunity Necklace, Brad Culpepper), the only remaining person eligible to receive votes, Cirie Fields, was eliminated by default without the need to cast further votes.

The third null vote happened in Survivor: Winners at War, where Natalie Anderson and Ben Driebergen negated four and two votes against them with their idols, respectively, with Tony Vlachos having also played an idol. The vote restarted, with Denise Stapley and Sarah Lacina ineligible to vote, being the only eligible targets left out of six. The four voting castaways unanimously voted against Denise.

Jury Vote Tiebreaker

At the Survivor: Micronesia Reunion, host Jeff Probst confirmed that a tiebreaker rule is in place for a two-person Final Tribal Council, though he did not reveal to the audience what the tiebreaker was.

Prior to the Survivor: One World finale, Probst confirmed that in the scenario of a two-person tie in a three-person Final Tribal Council, the jury would revote between the two tied contestants.[5] He was also asked what would happen in the scenario of a three-person tie, but chose not to reveal this information. One World is the most recent season in which a three-person tie was possible entering the Final Tribal Council.

During the Survivor: Game Changers Reunion, it was further revealed that if the jury cannot break a two-person tie at a three-person Final Tribal Council, the second runner-up would join the jury to break the tie. Immediately after the votes are cast at the Final Tribal Council, the host would proceed to read the votes to reveal that a tie between the other two finalists had occurred, after which the second runner-up, now officially a member of the jury, will cast an impromptu deciding vote.[6] This rule was exercised in Survivor: Ghost Island, where Jeff Probst revealed the results of the vote on location instead of live. The second runner-up, Laurel Johnson, cast the deciding vote to break the 5-5-0 tie between Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland, with the said vote being the only one kept as a secret and read live.[7]

Former Rules

In Survivor: Borneo, there would have been a tiebreaker challenge to break deadlocked ties. It is unknown what the challenge would have been, as the only tie that occurred was broken on the revote.[8]

In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, if there is a deadlocked tie, the castaway with more previous votes against them is eliminated. Votes cast at revotes are not counted as part of the previous votes tiebreaker. If none of those who are tied have previous votes against them, or if all of those who are tied have the same number of previous votes against them, the players concerned will partake in a tiebreaker challenge. It is presumed that this tiebreaker was in effect throughout the entire game, including the final four Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Marquesas, the rock drawing tiebreaker was in effect even at the final four Tribal Council. A final-four tie did occur in that season, with Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis tied and Paschal English untied and not immune. To avoid automatically eliminating Paschal, production forced Kathy and Neleh to also draw rocks, but Paschal was ultimately eliminated despite never receiving votes throughout the entire game. After the season, the producers admitted that they made a mistake, as the tiebreaker was impossible to be applied fairly with only four contestants left.[9] Paschal's abrupt exit influenced how contestants voted in subsequent seasons, with contestants trying their best not to resort to a rock draw.

Prior to Survivor: Panama, with the exception of Marquesas, the revote stage took place even at the final four Tribal Council.

In Game Changers, the revote stage was removed as a one-season twist, immediately subjecting the contestants to the open discussion stage. However, this never came into play. Had there been a null vote under this rule with multiple non-immune contestants, the vote restart would still have occurred.

Tiebreaker History

Tie Vote and Tiebreaker History
Season Episode Tied Contestants Eliminated Outcome
Borneo Rules
Survivor: Borneo "The Final Four" S1 richard t.pngS1 susan t.png
Richard Hatch and Susan Hawk
S1 susan bw.png
Susan Hawk
2-2; Kelly switched her vote to Susan at the revote.
Previous Votes
Survivor: The Australian Outback "The Killing Fields" S2 keith t.pngS2 mitchell t.png
Keith Famie and Mitchell Olson
S2 mitchell bw.png
Mitchell Olson
Deadlocked tie; Mitchell had one vote from a previous Tribal Council, while Keith had none, eliminating the former.
"The Merge" S2 colby t.pngS2 jeff t.png
Colby Donaldson and Jeff Varner
S2 jeff bw.png
Jeff Varner
Deadlocked tie; Jeff had two votes from previous Tribal Councils, while Colby had none, eliminating the former.
Survivor: Africa "The Gods Are Angry" S3 carl t.pngS3 lindsey t.png
Carl Bilancione and Lindsey Richter
S3 carl bw.png
Carl Bilancione
Deadlocked tie; it was Samburu's first Tribal Council, so neither had any previous votes. The tiebreaker was a nature quiz. Carl lost the quiz, eliminating him.
"I'd Never Do It to You" S3 lindsey t.pngS3 tom t.png
Lindsey Richter and Tom Buchanan
S3 lindsey bw.png
Lindsey Richter
Deadlocked tie; Lindsey had four votes (excluding revotes) from the above Tribal Council, while Tom had none, eliminating the former.
Introduction of Rock-Drawing Tiebreaker
Survivor: Marquesas "The Sole Survivor" S4 kathy t.pngS4 neleh t.png
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis
S4 paschal bw.png
Paschal English
(rock draw)
Final four; all three non-immune contestants (Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal) drew rocks, where Paschal drew the odd purple rock and was eliminated.
Current Rules
Survivor: Palau "The Best and Worst Reward Ever" S10 angie t.pngS10 bobbyjon t.png
Angie Jakusz and Bobby Jon Drinkard
S10 angie bw.png
Angie Jakusz
2-2-1 vote between Angie, Bobby Jon, and James; Angie was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"Jellyfish 'n Chips" S10 ibrehem t.pngS10 james t.png
Ibrehem Rahman and James Miller
S10 james bw.png
James Miller
2-2 vote between Ibrehem and James; Stephenie changed her vote to James at the revote.
"Neanderthal Man" S10 bobbyjon t.pngS10 stephenie t.png
Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa
S10 bobbyjon bw.png
Bobby Jon Drinkard
Fire-making challenge; with only two members left, Ulong did not vote. Bobby Jon lost the challenge, resulting in his elimination.
"The Ultimate Shock" S10 ian t.pngS10 jenn t.png
Ian Rosenberger and Jenn Lyon
S10 jenn bw.png
Jenn Lyon
Final four; Jenn lost the fire-making challenge.
Survivor: Panama "Call the Whambulence!"/"The Final Showdown" S12 cirie t.pngS12 danielle t.png
Cirie Fields and Danielle DiLorenzo
S12 cirie bw.png
Cirie Fields
Final four; Cirie lost the fire-making challenge. Tie occurred in "Call the Whambulence!", while the fire-making challenge occurred in "The Final Showdown".
Survivor: Cook Islands "This Tribe Will Self-Destruct in 5, 4, 3..." S13 becky t.pngS13 sundra t.png
Becky Lee and Sundra Oakley
S13 sundra bw.png
Sundra Oakley
Final four; Sundra lost the fire-making challenge. Due to how long both were unable to make fire with flint, they were given matches to complete the tiebreaker.
Survivor: Gabon "Say Goodbye to Gabon" S17 bob t.pngS17 matty t.png
Bob Crowley and Matty Whitmore
S17 matty bw.png
Matty Whitmore
Final four; Matty lost the fire-making challenge.
Survivor: Samoa "The Day of Reckoning" S19 laura t.pngS19 natalie t.png
Laura Morett and Natalie White
S19 laura bw.png
Laura Morett
5-5 vote between Laura and Natalie; John switched his vote to Laura at the revote.
Survivor: Nicaragua "Worst Case Scenario" S21 kellyb t.pngS21 marty t.png
Kelly Bruno and Marty Piombo
S21 kellyb bw.png
Kelly Bruno
3-3-2 vote between Brenda, Kelly B., and Marty; Jill and Sash switched their votes to Kelly B. at the revote.
Survivor: Redemption Island "Keep Hope Alive" S22 ralph t.pngS22 russell t.pngS22 stephanie t.png
Ralph Kiser, Russell Hantz, and Stephanie Valencia
S22 russell t.png
Russell Hantz
(sent to Redemption Island)
3-3-3 vote between Ralph, Russell, and Stephanie; David, Julie, and Sarita switched their votes to Russell at the revote. This marks the first three-way tie.
Survivor: South Pacific "Double Agent" S23 keith t.pngS23 rick t.png
Keith Tollefson and Rick Nelson
S23 keith t.png
Keith Tollefson
(sent to Redemption Island)
6-6 vote between Keith and Rick; Cochran switched his vote to Keith at the revote.
Survivor: Caramoan "There's Gonna Be Hell to Pay" S26 eddie t.pngS26 hope t.pngS26 shamar t.png
Eddie Fox, Hope Driskill, and Shamar Thomas
S26 hope bw.png
Hope Driskill
3-3-3 vote between Eddie, Hope, and Shamar; Matt and Michael switched their votes to Hope at the revote.
"Tubby Lunchbox" S26 julia t.pngS26 michael t.png
Julia Landauer and Michael Snow
S26 julia bw.png
Julia Landauer
3-3 vote between Julia and Michael; Julia was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"Come Over to the Dark Side" S26 andrea t.pngS26 malcolm t.pngS26 reynold t.png
Andrea Boehlke, Malcolm Freberg, and Reynold Toepfer
S26 malcolm bw.png
Malcolm Freberg
3-3-3 vote between Andrea, Malcolm, and Reynold; Malcolm was unanimously voted out at the revote.
Survivor: Blood vs. Water "One Armed Dude and Three Moms" S27 brad t.pngS27 ciera t.png
Brad Culpepper and Ciera Eastin
S27 brad t.png
Brad Culpepper
(sent to Redemption Island)
3-3 vote between Brad and Ciera; Vytas switched his vote to Brad at the revote.
"Rustle Feathers" S27 hayden t.pngS27 monica t.png
Hayden Moss and Monica Culpepper
S27 katie t.png
Katie Collins
(rock draw; sent to Redemption Island)
Deadlocked tie; all three non-immune contestants (Ciera, Katie, and Tyson) drew rocks, where Katie drew the odd white rock and was sent to Redemption Island. This marks the first time the rock drawing tiebreaker was used as intended, with the tied contestants immune.
Survivor: Cagayan "Cops-R-Us" S28 alexis t.pngS28 brice t.pngS28 morgan t.png
Alexis Maxwell, Brice Johnston, and Morgan McLeod
S28 brice bw.png
Brice Johnston
2-2-2 vote between Alexis, Brice, and Morgan; Brice was unanimously voted out at the revote.
Survivor: San Juan del Sur "Method to This Madness" S29 baylor t.pngS29 val t.png
Baylor Wilson and Val Collins
S29 val bw.png
Val Collins
4-4 vote between Baylor and Val; Alec and John switched their votes to Val at the revote.
"Let's Make a Move" S29 jaclyn t.pngS29 jon t.pngS29 keith t.png
Jaclyn Schultz, Jon Misch, and Keith Nale
S29 jon bw.png
Jon Misch
2-2-2 vote between Jaclyn, Jon, and Keith; Baylor switched her vote to Jon at the revote.
Survivor: Worlds Apart "Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner" S30 lindsey t.pngS30 rodney t.pngS30 sierra t.png
Lindsey Cascaddan, Rodney Lavoie Jr., and Sierra Dawn Thomas
S30 lindsey bw.png
Lindsey Cascaddan
2-2-2 vote between Lindsey, Rodney, and Sierra; Lindsey was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"It's a Fickle, Fickle Game" S30 carolyn t.pngS30 rodney t.png
Carolyn Rivera and Rodney Lavoie Jr.
S30 rodney bw.png
Rodney Lavoie Jr.
Final four; Rodney lost the fire-making challenge.
Survivor: Cambodia "Lie, Cheat and Steal" S31 kimmi t.pngS31 tasha t.png
Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox
S31 kimmi bw.png
Kimmi Kappenberg
(consensus)
Null vote between Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth, followed by a 3-3 vote between Kimmi and Tasha at the restart, which deadlocked when no one was willing to change their vote at the revote. Kimmi was then eliminated by consensus.
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng "I'm a Mental Giant" S32 alecia t.pngS32 darnell t.png
Alecia Holden and Darnell Hamilton
S32 darnell bw.png
Darnell Hamilton
3-3 vote between Alecia and Darnell; Darnell was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"The Circle of Life" S32 aubry t.pngS32 liz t.pngS32 peter t.png
Aubry Bracco, Liz Markham, and Peter Baggenstos
S32 liz bw.png
Liz Markham
2-2-2 vote between Aubry, Liz, and Peter; Liz was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"Not Going Down Without a Fight" S32 aubry t.pngS32 cydney t.png
Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillon
S32 cydney bw.png
Cydney Gillon
Final four; Cydney lost the fire-making challenge.
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X "Million Dollar Gamble" S33 hannah t.pngS33 zeke t.png
Hannah Shapiro and Zeke Smith
S33 jessica bw.png
Jessica Lewis
(rock draw)
Deadlocked tie; all six non-immune contestants (Adam, Bret, David, Jessica, Sunday, and Will) drew rocks, where Jessica drew the odd black rock and was eliminated.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers "Playing with the Devil" S35 desi t.pngS35 joe t.png
Desi Williams and Joe Mena
S35 desi bw.png
Desi Williams
4-4-1-1 vote between Ben, Desi, Joe, and Lauren; Ashley, Chrissy, and Cole switched their votes to Desi at the revote.
"Million Dollar Night" S35 devon t.pngS35 mike t.png
Devon Pinto and Mike Zahalsky
S35 mike bw.png
Mike Zahalsky
1-1-0 vote between Devon and Mike; Chrissy and Ryan switched their votes to Mike at the revote.
Survivor: Ghost Island "The Finish Line Is in Sight" S36 laurel t.pngS36 michael t.png
Laurel Johnson and Michael Yerger
S36 michael bw.png
Michael Yerger
2-2-1-1 vote between Kellyn, Laurel, Michael, and Wendell; Michael was unanimously voted out at the revote.
"Always Be Moving" S36 donathan t.pngS36 kellyn t.png
Donathan Hurley and Kellyn Bechtold
S36 kellyn bw.png
Kellyn Bechtold
3-3-1 vote between Domenick, Donathan, and Kellyn; Angela switched her vote to Kellyn at the revote.
"It Is Game Time Kids" S36 domenick t.pngS36 wendell t.png
Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland
(Jury Vote)
S36 domenick bw.png
Domenick Abbate
(Runner-Up)
5-5-0 vote between Domenick and Wendell; the second runner-up, Laurel, became a member of the jury to decide the winner, voting for Wendell to win. This marks the first time a tie has occurred at the Final Tribal Council.
Survivor: Edge of Extinction "It's Like the Worst Cocktail Party Ever" S38 lauren t.pngS38 wendy t.png
Lauren O'Connell and Wendy Diaz
S38 wendy t.png
Wendy Diaz
(goes to Edge of Extinction)
4-4 vote between Lauren and Wendy; Wendy was unanimously voted out at the revote.
Survivor: Island of the Idols "Bring On the Bacon" S39 elizabeth t.pngS39 janet t.png
Elizabeth Beisel and Janet Carbin
S39 elizabeth bw.png
Elizabeth Beisel
1-1-0 vote between Elizabeth and Janet; Elizabeth was unanimously voted out at the revote.

Trivia

See also

References

Survivor Gameplay
Challenges

Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction

Elimination

Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn

Strategy

Alliance · Pagonging · Split Vote (Strategy)

Social Dynamics

Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe

Twists
Casting

Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity


Tribal Council-Related

Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Miscellaneous

Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Legacy Advantage · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

Post-Game

Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show

Miscellaneous

Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging