Our current system is highly vulnerable to a nasty phenomena called “The Spoiler Effect,” also referred to as “Vote Splitting,” or the “Nader Effect.”
For county elections we currently have the California “Jungle Primary” system. It consists of a non-partisan primary and a top-2 general election. Because of vote splitting in the primary, that system could actually advance 2 candidates from the same party to the general… Even if the other party got more votes!
Our current system is wildly inaccurate when there are more than two candidates. Voter blocks who support more than one candidate can end up divided and conquered.
This creates a strong incentive to only vote for the “front-runners.” Voting your conscience can actually backfire and cause your side to lose the election.
2. Once we solve the spoiler effect, we don't need to have 2 elections:
We currently elect county officials with a "top two" system using a primary election in the spring and a general election in the fall. The primary narrows down the field of candidates to one or two candidates for the general election. Using a primary restricts voter choice at the general election when many more voters are participating. Sometimes there is NO choice--the winner was chosen in the primary!
When there are several candidates in the primary and no one gets a majority, the top two each win with a minority of votes. This can be unrepresentative of the majority of the voters.
This two election process makes for a long campaign season, which is disliked by both voters and candidates. It also advantages candidates with more money.
3. Magnifying the influence of Money in Politics
To avoid the Spoiler Effect, voters are coerced into voting for the front-runner on their side who is most “viable.”
The most viable candidate is usually the one who raised the most money. This gives big money an undue influence over not only voter opinion, but also over voter behavior.
4. Wasted Votes and Disenfranchised Voters
If you know that your favorite is a shoo-in, or that they don’t stand a chance, then it’s a safe bet that your vote won’t make a difference anyway. Together with the other issues listed above, this is a big reason many people choose not to vote at all.