|Description:||A contingency plan in the event of a tie vote at Tribal Council|
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.
Pre-Final FourIn 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 will declare a deadlock 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 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. In this challenge, Stephenie LaGrossa defeated Bobby Jon Drinkard, sending the latter home.
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. He was also asked what happens in the scenario of a three-person tie, but did not want to reveal this information.
During the Survivor: Game Changers Reunion, it was revealed that if the jury cannot break a two-person tie at a three-person Final Tribal Council, the third placer would join the jury to break the tie. Immediately after the Final Tribal Council, producers would privately inform the third placer of his or her finish and that a tie between the other two finalists had occurred, after which the third placer, now officially a member of the jury, will cast an impromptu deciding vote.
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 a Hidden Immunity Idol) during the regular vote would be immune, but would not be able to pass it to others before voting. Idols are not allowed to be played during the restart, just like in a revote. A tie at the restart will not force a deadlock, and castaways would be given a chance to revote if any of them wanted to change their votes. The first case of a null vote occurred in Survivor: Cambodia where Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth had used Hidden Immunity Idols and happened to be the only contestants with votes against them. The vote was 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 became complicated because if they could not make a unanimous decision, Keith Nale, the only contestant eligible to draw rocks, would have been eliminated by default as Spencer Bledsoe won the Immunity Challenge, Jeremy and Kelley were safe through their Hidden Immunity Idols, and Kimmi and Tasha, per the current rules, would have been immune. In the end, the tribe unanimously decided to eliminate Kimmi.
The second null vote happened in Survivor: Game Changers where three Hidden Immunity Idols and a Legacy Advantage (which also functions 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, who did not actually receive any votes, was eliminated by default without the need to cast further votes.
In Survivor: Borneo, there was no protocol for breaking deadlock ties. The tribe would continue to revote until the tie is broken.
In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, 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, the players concerned will partake in a trivia challenge tiebreaker.
A new tiebreaker mechanism was introduced in Survivor: Marquesas where the non-immune players will immediately go to a rock draw where the contestant with the odd-colored rock is eliminated. However, this format change generated controversy among viewers as the sole victim of this tiebreaker, Paschal English, did not receive votes at any point during the game. The producers admitted they made a mistake as the formula behind it was impossible to be applied fairly with only four contestants left. Under the rock draw rules, if the non-tied contestants could not come to a unanimous decision on who to vote out, all contestants who do not have immunity would have to draw rocks, with the person choosing the odd-colored rock being eliminated. Paschal's abrupt exit had somehow influenced how contestants voted in subsequent seasons up until Survivor: Palau, with contestants trying their best not to resort to a rock draw.
Prior to Survivor: Panama, the revote stage took place even in the scenario of a 2-2 tie at the final four Tribal Council. From Panama to Survivor: Game Changers, if a 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.
In Game Changers, the revote stage had been 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 occur.
|Tie Vote and Tiebreaker History|
|Survivor: Borneo||"The Final Four"|| |
Richard Hatch and Sue Hawk
|2-2; Kelly switched her vote from Richard to Sue at the revote.|
|Survivor: The Australian Outback||"The Killing Fields"|| |
Keith Famie and Mitchell Olson
|Deadlock vote; Mitchell had one vote from a previous Tribal Council, while Keith had none, eliminating the former.|
|"The Merge"|| |
Colby Donaldson and Jeff Varner
|Deadlock vote; Jeff had two votes from previous Tribal Councils, while Colby had none, eliminating the former.|
|Survivor: Africa||"The Gods Are Angry"|| |
Carl Bilancione and Lindsey Richter
|Deadlock vote; since it was Samburu's first Tribal Council, neither had previous votes. The tiebreaker was a nature quiz. Carl lost the quiz, eliminating him.|
|"I'd Never Do It to You"|| |
Lindsey Richter and Tom Buchanan
|Deadlock tie; Lindsey had four votes from a previous Tribal Council, while Tom had none, eliminating the former.|
|Survivor: Marquesas||"The Sole Survivor"|| |
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis
|Final four; all three non-immune contestants (Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal) drew rocks, where Paschal drew the odd purple rock and was eliminated.|
|Survivor: Palau||"The Best and Worst Reward Ever"|| |
Angie Jakusz and Bobby Jon Drinkard
|2-2-1 vote between Angie, Bobby Jon, and James; Angie was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Jellyfish 'n Chips"|| |
Ibrehem Rahman and James Miller
|2-2; Stephenie changed her vote to James on the revote.|
|"Neanderthal Man"|| |
Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa
Bobby Jon Drinkard
|Fire-making challenge; with only two members left, Ulong did not vote. Bobby Jon lost the challenge, eliminating himself.|
|"The Ultimate Shock"|| |
Ian Rosenberger and Jenn Lyon
|Final four; Jenn lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Panama||"Call the Whambulence!"/"The Final Showdown"|| |
Cirie Fields and Danielle DiLorenzo
|Final four; Cirie lost the fire-making challenge. Tie occurred in "Call the Whambulence!", while the fire-making challenge occurred in "The Final Showdown". Starting in Panama, a 2-2 tie at the final four would not be followed by an official revote.|
|Survivor: Cook Islands||"This Tribe Will Self-Destruct in 5, 4, 3..."|| |
Becky Lee and 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"|| |
Bob Crowley and Matty Whitmore
|Final four; Matty lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Samoa||"The Day of Reckoning"|| |
Laura Morett and Natalie White
|5-5 vote between Laura and Natalie; John switched his vote to Laura on the revote.|
|Survivor: Nicaragua||"Worst Case Scenario"|| |
Kelly Bruno and Marty Piombo
|3-3-2 vote between Brenda, Kelly B., and Marty; Jill and Sash switched their votes to Kelly B. on the revote.|
|Survivor: Redemption Island||"Keep Hope Alive"|| |
Ralph Kiser, Russell Hantz, and Stephanie Valencia
(sent to Redemption Island)
|3-3-3 vote between Ralph, Russell, and Stephanie; Julie, Sarita, and Steve switched their votes to Russell on the revote. This marks the first three-way tie.|
|Survivor: South Pacific||"Double Agent"|| |
Keith Tollefson and Rick Nelson
(sent to Redemption Island)
|6-6 vote between Keith and Rick; Cochran switched his vote to Keith on the revote.|
|Survivor: Caramoan||"There's Gonna Be Hell to Pay"|| |
Eddie Fox, Hope Driskill, and Shamar Thomas
|3-3-3 vote between Eddie, Hope, and Shamar; Matt and Michael switched their votes to Hope on the revote.|
|"Tubby Lunchbox"|| |
Julia Landauer and Michael Snow
|3-3 vote between Julia and Michael; Julia was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"There's Gonna Be Hell to Pay"|| |
Andrea Boehlke, Malcolm Freberg, and Reynold Toepfer
|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"|| |
Brad Culpepper and Ciera Eastin
(sent to Redemption Island)
|3-3 vote between Brad and Ciera; Vytas switched his vote to Brad on the revote.|
|"Rustle Feathers"|| |
Hayden Moss and Monica Culpepper
(rock draw; sent to Redemption Island)
|Deadlock 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"|| |
Alexis Maxwell, Brice Johnston, and Morgan McLeod
|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"|| |
Baylor Wilson and Val Collins
|4-4 vote between Baylor and Val; Alec and John switched their votes to Val on the revote.|
|"Let's Make a Move"|| |
Jaclyn Schultz, Jon Misch, and Keith Nale
|2-2-2 vote between Jaclyn, Jon, and Keith; Baylor switched her vote to Jon on the revote.|
|Survivor: Worlds Apart||"Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner"|| |
Lindsey Cascaddan, Rodney Lavoie Jr., and Sierra Dawn Thomas
|2-2-2 vote between Lindsey, Rodney, and Sierra; Lindsey was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"It's a Fickle, Fickle Game"|| |
Carolyn Rivera and Rodney Lavoie Jr.
Rodney Lavoie Jr.
|Final four; Rodney lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Cambodia||"Lie, Cheat and Steal"|| |
Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox
|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"|| |
Alecia Holden and Darnell Hamilton
|3-3 vote between Alecia and Darnell; Darnell was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"The Circle of Life"|| |
Aubry Bracco, Liz Markham, and Peter Baggenstos
|2-2-2 vote between Aubry, Liz, and Peter; Liz was unanimously voted out at the revote.|
|"Not Going Down Without a Fight"|| |
Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillon
|Final four; Cydney lost the fire-making challenge.|
|Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X||"Million Dollar Gamble"|| |
Hannah Shapiro and Zeke Smith
|Deadlock 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"|| |
Desi Williams and Joe Mena
|4-4-1-1 vote between Ben, Desi, Joe, and Lauren; Ashley, Chrissy, and Cole switched their votes to Desi on the revote.|
|"Million Dollar Night"|| |
Devon Pinto and Mike Zahalsky
|1-1-0 vote between Devon and Mike; Chrissy and Ryan switched their votes to Mike on the revote.|
- Lindsey Richter is the only castaway to be in a deadlock tie twice in a single season, in Survivor: Africa. The first time occurred on Day 9, with her winning the trivia tiebreaker against Carl Bilancione, while the second time on Day 18, she was eliminated by having more past votes than Tom Buchanan.
- The first three-way tie occurred in "Keep Hope Alive" in Survivor: Redemption Island where Ralph Kiser, Russell Hantz, and Stephanie Valencia each received three votes, and Russell was voted out 5-1-0 in the following revote.
- The earliest occurrence of a tie was on Day 3, in "I'm a Mental Giant" in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
- In the rock draw tiebreaker, the color configuration of the rocks has been different each time: