Another idea
Published July 25th 2006 in Courier Post On-line

Re: "Runoff elections would improve our democracy" (Rabble Rouser, July 2).

Runoff elections would indeed improve our electoral process. Their great virtue is that they avoid the spoiler effect of a third-party candidate.

An interesting variant is "instant runoff voting," which eliminates the physical runoff election, thereby saving money and time.

In instant runoff voting, voters rank their choices. If someone wins an outright majority based on first choices, the election is over.

If not, then the candidate receiving the least number of first-choice votes is removed, and his/her supporters have their votes switched to their second choice.

The assumption is that were an actual runoff held with one candidate removed, only voters who liked that candidate would change votes. Other voters would stay with their first preference. Through rankings, this happens automatically.

Instant runoff voting is a good idea that deserves consideration.