The rules of the electoral college in American politics are less murky than the rules of repechage in international judo tournaments.
To help you understand the 'repechage' in the Olympics and World Championships, first let's begin with a simple definition:
REPECHAGE: french; to finish up again - borrowed from sports, allows any competitor who has already lost a match to get another chance for the semi-finals.
In judo, the repechage is fought for the bronze medal. If you lose against the semi-finalist, you get to fight in the repechage, for the bronze.
So, if you lose against a semi-finalist, you get a chance to compete in the repechage. The first and second round losers fight each other, the winner of this fights the third round loser, and so it goes until there are only two individuals remaining who fight for third place (the bronze medal). And the ones who lose the third place competitions get 5th place.
IF a judoka defeats his first two competitors but then loses to a quarter-finalist who goes onto the semi-finals, that judoka will not get another chance for the bronze medal (3rd place, who nobody ever remembers). BUT if the productive judoka reaches the semi-finals, the guy he defeats in the first round will get a chance at round two. Thus, if you get defeated, hope like hec that the judoka who beat you makes it to the finals.
Regardless of the weakness of the repechage system, it gives officials a chance to work with large volumes of competitors (100 judoka or more) in a reasonable amount of time.
A better system than repechage would be that all contestants fight everybody, but that could take days or weeks to complete a single tournament.
A major weakness of Repechage is to make sure that competitors are not paired with anyone from the same club, country, or social gathering to avoid conspiracies during the last match, such as: If you let me have a yuko, and then you win by ippon, I'll get the silver and not the bronze, but you win the gold all the same. So it is important to contest individuals who know each other to fight first in a repechage system.
Alle ist clar?