Yes on 2 Campaign: “4th Congressional District Primary is a Prime Example of Why Massachusetts Voters Would Benefit from Ranked Choice Voting”

4th CD primary too close to call, leading candidates both with less than 25% each

For Immediate Release: 

Contact:, 617-894-6905

Boston, Mass. – September 2, 2020 – The Massachusetts Democratic Primary Election for the 4th Congressional District, which includes seven candidates, is currently too close to call and will almost certainly result in a winner who captured less than 25% of the vote.

With 80% of precincts reporting, top contenders Jesse Mermell and Jake Auchincloss are separated by just a few hundred votes at 22.4% and 22.3% respectively, guaranteeing that no candidate will come close to a majority in this primary.

“The situation in the 4th Congressional District Primary is a prime example of why Massachusetts voters would benefit from Ranked Choice Voting,” said Cara Brown McCormick, campaign manager for Yes on 2. “4th CD voters were fortunate to have seven excellent candidates to choose from, but without ranked choice voting, crowded races like these will continue to end without any assurance of a majority-supported candidate. This can easily be solved if Massachusetts votes Yes on 2 to adopt RCV.”

McCormick continued, “Under a ranked choice system, Voters in the 4th CD could vote for their preferred candidate while still expressing a preference among the others. This would improve our democracy by ensuring that the winner of an election actually has the support of the majority of voters, which the current plurality system does not allow.”

Candidate Dave Cavell dropped out of the 4th Congressional District primary in early August specifically citing his concerns over vote-splitting. He voiced his strong support for ranked choice voting as a way to improve voter representation, especially in races with crowded candidate fields. All of the seven remaining candidates in the 4th CD race signaled public support for Ranked Choice Voting.

Ranked Choice Voting is a simple, fair and easy reform that will give Massachusetts voters more voice and more choice in our elections. In an RCV election, each voter ranks as many candidates as he/she wants, in order of true preference.  When ballots are counted, if a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If not, an instant runoff ensues. The candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated, and ballots for that candidate transfer to the remaining candidates, according to each voter’s second choice. The process repeats until one candidate has the support of a majority of voters and is declared the winner.

Support for Ranked Choice Voting from 4th Congressional District Democratic primary candidates:

“I support ranked-choice voting because it requires candidates to have broad support in order to win, and I think that’s good for democracy. I think it’s healthy for candidates to have to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and earn their trust in order to win. Particularly in crowded races with a lot of candidates running for the same seat, like our race in the 4th District Democratic Congressional primary this year, I think a lot of voters wish they could mark down not just their first choice, but their second and third choices and rank the candidates to show support for more than one candidate, and in some cases, make it clear who they’re voting against.”

  • Natalia Limos

“I support ranked-choice voting. I believe it would better reflect the will of voters, make our political system less divisive, and increase representation of Black people and people of color in our government.”

  • Ihssane Leckey

“Yes, I absolutely support this reform. This Congressional race is a perfect example of why we need Ranked Choice Voting. With so many qualified candidates, the winner of this election will most likely need under 20% to win with massive advantages for those from large cities and who can self-fund or rely on wealthy, politically established connections. Ranked Choice Voting would grow diversity, civic engagement and force candidates to spend more time talking to voters instead of their donors. It would also mean the candidate with the most broad support across the district would win, and not the candidate who has the loudest sliver of the electorate. That’s how I have run my campaign and it shouldn’t be an outlier — it should be the way politics works.”

  • Ben Sigel

“I’ve been an outspoken advocate for Ranked Choice Voting from the beginning, as a simple and fair way to better represent the will of the majority in elections. I’ve worked closely with Voter Choice for Massachusetts through the years and am proud to have earned the endorsement of Evan Falchuk, Ranked Choice Voting advocate and political reformer. I look forward to voting yes in November to implement Ranked Choice Voting for future elections.”

  • Jake Auchincloss

“Yes, I support Ranked Choice Voting to make our system more Democratic, ensure winners have a plurality of support from the voters and encourage voter participation. But our voting reforms can’t stop there. We have a lot of work to do to dismantle decades — centuries — of voter suppression in this country. That means reinstating the Voting Rights Act, restoring voting rights to the incarcerated and those who have been convicted of a crime, eliminating ID and witness requirements, and implementing universal, automatic vote-by-mail, no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, same-day registration, automatic registration, and online registration everywhere.”

  • Jesse Mermell

“Yes, I support ranked choice voting, and our race is a prime example of why we need to give voters a stronger voice at the ballot.”

  • Becky Grossman

“I support the voting reform referendum to change to a ranked choice voting system. The primary for Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District is a prime example of the need for ranked choice voting. With so many talented candidates in the race, any candidate could hypothetically win with less than 20% of the vote. Ranked choice voting would ensure that candidates have support from a majority of voters and reduce incentives for running negative campaigns, putting pressure on candidates to build themselves up rather than tearing others down. By making candidates more accountable to the entire electorate, ranked choice voting would strengthen our democracy, produce higher-quality candidates, and improve the quality of the public discourse.”

  • Alan Khazei 

About the Yes on 2 Campaign
Yes On 2 is a citizen-led, nonpartisan campaign to adopt Ranked Choice Voting for Massachusetts elections starting in 2022. Ranked choice voting a common-sense reform that puts more power in the hands of voters. It will make our democracy more functional and representative of the people, not special interests.