Canada Reads

How ties are broken on Canada Reads

Ever wonder what happens in the event of a tie? Here's what the rules state.

During Canada Reads, books are eliminated by a panellist vote. Sometimes, a vote can result in a tie. 

There are two types of ties. Here's how they happen and how to break them. 

Two-way ties

A two-way tie happens when two of the five books each have two votes against them. In this case, the panellist who did not vote for either of the books involved in the tie is delegated as the tiebreaker. They must decide to eliminate one of the two books involved in the tie.

This type of tie can happen in two different ways:

a) The tie breaking panellist's book is not involved in the tie

This means that the book which the tiebreaking panellist is defending is not one of the books subject to elimination. The panellist must therefore decide which of the two books involved in the tie will be eliminated. 

Clara Hughes, who defended The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, found herself in this situation on day one of the Canada Reads 2016 debates.

Hughes, who had voted to eliminate Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz, had to choose to between Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter or The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami, when a two-way tie put both books up for elimination. 

Panellist Clara Hughes votes off Minister Without Portfolio on day one of the debates. 2:48

b) The tie breaking panellist's book is involved in the tie

This means that the deciding panellist's book is one of the books subject to elimination. Keep in mind they were the only panellist that DID NOT originally vote against either of the books which are tied. In this scenario, the tiebreaker is forced to vote against whichever book apart from their own is involved in the tie, unless they want to eliminate their own book, which is an unlikely scenario.

On day one of the Canada Reads 2015 debates, Cameron Bailey, who was defending Ru by Kim Thúy, was forced to vote to eliminate Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee when a two-way tie put Ru and Intolerable up for elimination. 

Panellist Cameron Bailey must decide which book to vote off on day one of the debates. 2:47

Five-way tie

This type of tie has yet to happen in the history of Canada Reads. It can only occur on the first day of debates, when each panellist votes for a different book to be eliminated. That means all five books have one vote against them. In order to determine which book gets eliminated, CBC Books will have an online survey where Canadians can vote fore their favourite Canada Reads books.

The book leading the survey will be saved from elimination. The panellist who had voted against that title must change their vote, thereby deciding which book gets eliminated. 

The 2019 survey is here. Vote now!


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