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Case I: a negative conductor makes contact with a neutral conductor. Negative donates some electrons to neutral, until there is 0 potential difference. Then they both are slightly negative. This happens quickly. (Assuming they are good conductors.)

enter image description here Case II: the neutral conductor is grounded (via a resistor) to earth. When they make contact, all surplus electrons drain to earth.

How does the resistor affect the movement of electrons? Will both conductors reach equipotential first, before surplus electrons drain to earth? (Because they make contact with each other without a resistor in between. The resistor is between them and earth.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you talking about charged conductive plates that have appreciable capacitance to each other and ground? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Mar 5 '17 at 10:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka Just 2 simple conductors. Like 2 metal rods. \$\endgroup\$ – Marty Mar 5 '17 at 11:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ They will have capacitance to each other and ground and this will dominate an analysis. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Mar 5 '17 at 11:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka Thanks. Then 2 equally sized pure copper rods. \$\endgroup\$ – Marty Mar 5 '17 at 11:07
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(Community answer - feel free to improve)

Use the following circuit to simulate what you want to see.

schematic

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

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No, electrons will not drain to earth after the two conductors reach the same potential.Electrons will go down to earth soon, unless the resistance is very very very high.

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