The idea on the table comes from a Republican state senator, but he’s not the first to suggest it. The idea: Change the way Maine elects its governor.

Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton is sponsoring an amendment to the state constitution that would require the winning candidate in a gubernatorial election to win a majority of the votes cast. Such a requirement would definitely mark a new era in state politics: In the past 11 gubernatorial elections, 1970 through 2010, the winner has received more than 50 percent of the votes only three times — 1970, 1982 and 1998. All three of those candidates were incumbents: Democrats Kenneth Curtis and Joseph Brennan, and independent Angus King

Brennan and King were re-elected by majorities after winning first terms with less than half the votes.

Saviello’s amendment would require a runoff election between the first- and second-place finishers if no candidate wins a majority on Election Day. Unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler voiced support for a runoff system after losing a close race to Paul LePage last fall. Gov. LePage won with about 38 percent of the votes.

The League of Women Voters of Maine, meanwhile, announced last week that it supports “instant runoff” or “ranked choice voting,” in which voters rank candidates by order of preference and candidates are eliminated until one ends up with a majority.

Now it’s our turn: We are opposed to runoff elections and “instant runoffs.” The system we have isn’t perfect, but it’s the fairest and most efficient way to elect a governor.

Here’s how it works: Candidates run. Voters vote. The candidate with the most votes win.

Democracy in action.

Runoff elections are costly, and they are anticlimactic. Voter turnouts for runoffs invariably fall far short of Election Day participation. And who’s to say that a runoff would produce a better governor or better governing just because the winner crashes the magical 50 percent barrier?

As for “ranked choice voting,” the system can be confusing and doesn’t begin to guarantee that the best candidate wins, or even that the winner is the first choice of a majority of voters.

Govs. Brennan and King were plurality governors who earned second-term mandates by convincing a majority of voters they deserved re-election. Republican John McKernan and Democrat John Baldacci both served two terms and were able to govern successfully without winning a majority of votes either time they ran.

The system works. There’s no good reason to change it.