Norman Ornstein’s Feb. 23 Local Opinions commentary, “Four ways D.C. could send voter turnout through the roof,” outlining measures to spur voter turnout in the District, should have included a fifth: runoff elections.
Winner-take-all balloting often leads to situations in which poor, and sometimes inept, candidates in a large, diverse field are elected with a bare plurality when the vast majority of voters have effectively rejected them. This is exacerbated in a jurisdiction, such as the District, where a party primary is tantamount to the general election.
Runoff elections would correct this inequity. In such a system, a candidate who receives less than 50 percent of the vote would face a runoff against the person who achieved the next-highest vote total. Because more candidates would have a chance, this would serve to increase turnout in both the primary and general elections.
Michael S. Sussman, Washington