As an external observer, I notice that in the pending US Presidential election a lot of voters don't like and don't feel represented by any of the candidates. The feeling is that the games were made during the primaries, the results of which are marred by suspects of rigging. This is nothing new, also some earlier elections including the one which saw Trump against Clinton went on in a similar context.

At the same time, voter turnout is low and with this mood it is not likely to grow.

Could introducing a two round voting system for all elections (Presidential, Governorship, House, Senate and so on) help reduce the problem? By "two round voting" I mean something similar to the system in France and many other countries. The first round is not a primary, but an official election, this allows the participation of many parties, there could be no room for accusations like the ones made to Nader of undermining the Democratic Party candidate. This would not rule out the usual primaries happening in every party, but also would not leave the voters with a very restricted choice at election time.

My assumption is that more parties would be likely to participate at the first turn, not only this would allow more voters to find a candidate whose view they can identify with, but all the parties would have to handle carefully their primaries otherwise their candidates wouldn't pass the first turn.

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    I'm not convinced it need "reviving." It seems pretty active to me. Would it not just distill down to the two major candidates? – acpilot Sep 16 at 13:58
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    Could you explain on what you mean by "two-round voting system," and in particular distinguish it from the existing primary system? I have a guess about what you mean, but it would be better to know for sure. – Alpha Draconis Sep 16 at 15:01
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    It sounds like you're talking about a "non-partisan primary" or "jungle primaries". If so, this question might be of interest: What are the arguments for California’s nonpartisan blanket (jungle) primaries? – divibisan Sep 16 at 18:50
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    @acpilot the classic sentence you refer to: "it doesn't matter, they're both the same," would be a lot more difficult to justify if at the first round there are more than two candidates. Furthermore I don't think I am giving too much credit to the voters because that mentality is quite common, but all around the world you can see a strong correlation between election credibility and voter turnout. – FluidCode Sep 16 at 20:15
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    Obligatory reference to this not being a single national election as in other countries: It's 51 elections aggregated (50 states plus the District of Columbia). – jeffronicus Sep 23 at 16:59

The two round Presidential direct election voting system existing in other countries does not bring considerable higher amount of voters in the first round (if at all). If we look on the data of other countries in recent presidential elections (voted directly).

  • France 2017 - first round turnout 77.8%, second round turnout 74.6%
  • Poland 2020 - first round turnout 64.5%, second round turnout 68.1%
  • Czech 2018 - first round turnout 61.9%, second round turnout 66.6%
  • Slovakia 2019 - first round turnout 48.7%, second round turnout 41.8%

Low turnout may

Cast doubt on the continuing validity of popular consent to the entirety of the existing governmental regime

as stated in "Democratic Legitimacy Under Conditions of Severely Depressed Voter Turnout," a piece for an upcoming University of Chicago Law Review Online symposium.

Also primaries does not show increase in the first round

For example, of 171 regularly scheduled primary runoffs for U.S House and U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2012, all but six of them resulted in a turnout decrease between the initial primary and the runoff, meaning that 96.5% of federal runoff elections had fewer people voting in the second round than in the first. Stated in https://www.fairvote.org/what_affects_voter_turnout_rates

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    Your answer is missig the point. 1) It does not consider whether it can improve credibility over discredited primaries. 2) It does not consider whether the voters may feel more represented if they can choose among many candidates instead of only two. 3) It does not consider whether it can make more or less difficult for early rigging to impact the final result. – FluidCode Sep 18 at 14:26
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    "Low turnout may: Cast doubt on the continuing validity of popular consent ..." I've seen this kind of propaganda also in my contry. The system encouraging people not to vote in order to make a limited rigging more effective. Trolls have been repeating over and over again that a blank vote or a no vote delegitimizes the elected parties, obviously they gloss over the point that a delegitimized government has the same legal power. – FluidCode Sep 18 at 14:26

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