This is in response to Gaylord Sprauve's excellent article on the downside of plurality voting (See In Numbered Seats Plan, Plurality Would Prevail in Op-Ed section.) He is correct in his note that the problems that we currently have with at-large plurality voting are reason enough for change, but it is not correct that run-off elections need to be held to determine a majority of votes for any given candidate running for a numbered seat.
There are more and more jurisdictions in the United States that are using the auto-run-off system. Under this system voters can place preference numbers on the ballot. It is a simple process by which a voter may mark her first, second and third choices. Essentially she is saying, "I want to vote for candidate 'C' but if candidate 'C' does not get a plurality of votes then I would like to vote for candidate 'A' and if candidate 'A' does not achieve a plurality then I would like to vote for candidate 'E'". The results then clearly show which of the candidates is preferred by a majority of the voters.
It is a simple and inexpensive system that avoids the problems of plurality voting, without the high cost and low turnout of election run-offs, while we advance to the point where we have districting and a truly representative government.
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