Instant runoff voting is fair, cost-effective
I'm writing again to Kent Bush. Not having runoffs is a bad idea since you could end up with a candidate who gets less than 50 percent of the vote. In a four-way race, the winner might get less than 30 percent. But having a runoff vote isn't the best answer either, for all the reasons you mentioned and more.
It only makes sense to have instant runoff voting allowing voters to select their top choice and second choice on the same ballot. It isn't expensive or complicated, and is a practice in many places in the world and a dozen cities in the US. Maine uses this in all elections.
This is a truly bipartisan issue, Something everyone from libertarians to socialists should be in support of, because it eliminates the third-party spoiler effect. Sadly, there are those in power who are in the two major parties and who don't mind the spoiler effect, they like to be able to scare people into voting for them, rather than voting their conscious. And it will be a long time before it gets adopted here in Oklahoma.
If anyone wants to look at the idea closer or see where else it is used, the best place to go is FairVote.com.