runoff - the type-setting program on the Multics operating system
wiktionary:Runoff -- other dictionary meanings
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Runoff voting can be condensed into a single preference ballot paper, at which point it becomes instant-runoff voting or an "alternative vote".
In a runoff ballot, all candidates are placed on the initial ballot and all voters are allowed to participate in the vote, whereas primaries are generally internal measures within a political party.
A two-round runoffvoting system, in practice, may work as a system of primary elections in countries where there are two major partisan blocks, by choosing for the second round of election a candidate in each block.
Unlike runoff voting, however, there are no chances to deal in between rounds, change voters' minds, or gain support of the other candidates.
This is considered a weakness by the advocates of a more deliberative democracy, who point to the French system of presidential election where such between-round dealings are heavily exploited and useful (they say) to draw together a very factionalized electorate.
However, critics of the French runoff system point to the dreaded "votez escroc, pas facho" (vote for the crook, not the fascist) phenomenon, which they believe awarded Chirac an undeserved landslide victory in 2002.
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