Bob Hall says instant-runoff voting could have saved the state millions.
The executive director of Democracy North Carolina says that North Carolina could have avoided today's primary runoff, which will cost from $3.5 to $5 million, by asking voters their second choice in the initial ballot.
"Today is really a case where we have this miserably low turnout, and it really is not democratic," he said.
Under instant-runoff voting, voters mark their first, second and third choices in a given race. If no candidate gets a majority in the initial round of voting, the second-choice votes of people who voted for the losing candidate are counted.
State Rep. Paul Luebke proposed a bill to allow the method in statewide party primaries and judicial races in the 2005 session, but it was scaled back to a pilot program for municipal elections. The towns of Cary and Hendersonville successfully used instant runoffs in the 2007 races.
Hall, a campaign finance reformer, said that instant runoffs also help candidates budget wisely.
"You don't have to worry about squirrelling away money for a possible runoff," he said. "And you don't have a situation where the candidate who can raise a lot of money real quick has an advantage."