“In runoffs you see a drastic reduction in turnout,” said Samuel Issacharoff, a law professor at New York University with a special interest in election law.
“It tends to favor the wealthier candidate,” he said.
Drawing lots, instead of rerunning the election, also saves communities the considerable expense of organizing an election, and ensures people that they’ll have a representative — even if half of them voted for another — ready to serve from day one of the office’s term, he said.
“Drawing lots is probably fairer than having a new election. First, running an election is costly. Second, making people return to the polls is burdensome, and the electorate for the runoff is likely to be smaller, and may not even be a subset of the original group of voters,” said Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan….
When state laws direct disputes over the conduct of election to the legislature, courts are often reluctant to step in in battles over election results, said William and Mary’s Green.
“They’re leery of the political thicket,” she said.
And the key point about whatever path a state chooses to deal with recounts, disputes over election results and ties, she, said, is to stick with what the law dictates all the way through a dispute.
“You can’t say you want new rules after the fact,” said Green.