Second Ballot (Run-Off Election)
This is an electoral system in which the two candidates that secured the highest number of votes (in the first voting) are made to face one another in another ballot (second ballot) at a later date, the candidate with the highest number of votes will be declared the winner.
The voters who supported the other candidate that is no longer in the contest can switch their votes to either of the two leading contestants. A second ballot is an abbreviated form of a repeated ballot system.
Merits of Second Ballot
(i) It eliminates exhaustion of voters and political apathy through series/repeated voting.
(ii) A winner that emerges enjoys the support of the majority.
(iii) Smaller political parties can secure seats in the parliament based on their popularity.
(iv) It ensures that all votes count in determining a winner as the votes of the losers are switched to the two last candidates in the second ballot.
(v) It gives the electorate and political parties room to participate in government through election.
Demerits of Second Ballot
(i) Second ballot is expensive
(ii) It is time-consuming
(iii) Election results may be delayed
(iv) It requires literate voters to work effectively
(v) Working out the election results is complicated and cumbersome
(vi) It can encourage election malpractice and manoeuvring
(vii) It can result in political apathy
(viii) It can cause political instability especially where the election result is perceived to have been manoeuvred.