Runoff Elections

Some states require the winner to receive the majority of the votes (more than 50%) and not just a plurality (the most votes).  A runoff election is held when no candidate in a primary or general election receives a majority of the votes cast. The top two candidates who received the most votes proceed to the runoff election.

In a runoff election, voters choose between the two remaining candidates, and the candidate with the most votes wins. Runoff elections are typically held several weeks after the initial election. They are open to all eligible voters, regardless of whether they voted in the first round.

Runoff elections are most commonly used in primary elections to determine a party’s nominee for a general election. However, some jurisdictions require the winner to receive a majority of the votes (50% of the votes plus 1) cast rather than just a plurality (receiving the most votes).