A vote for equity at the polls

Ranked-choice voting in Massachusetts will encourage candidates from a broader array of backgrounds to run for office and give voters the freedom to support them.

By Danielle Allen  |  September 30, 2020

The people of Massachusetts deserve responsive, accountable government that reflects our rich diversity. Ranked-choice voting will deliver the substantive, lasting change we need.

The United States is in the midst of a cultural and political reckoning. Citizens across the country are rejecting the status quo, making their voices heard as they fight for responsive government from city hall to the White House. The coronavirus pandemic, economic collapse, and protests against systemic racism all require effective responses from leaders at all levels government.

On Nov. 3, voters will have the opportunity to choose leaders who listen and act. Massachusetts voters will also have an opportunity to amplify their voices for future elections by voting “yes” on Question 2, ranked-choice voting.

Currently, a Massachusetts voter picks only one candidate for each office on the ballot. In contrast, RCV allows voters to rank all of the candidates running for a given office. People have the option to pick a first, a second, and a third choice, and so on. If one candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first round of vote-counting, that candidate wins the election. But if no candidate wins a majority, the candidate who received the fewest votes in the first round is eliminated. That candidate’s votes are then redistributed to each voter’s second choice candidate. This process of elimination and vote distribution continues until one candidate earns support from a true majority.

Massachusetts is a relatively diverse state, but our leadership is not. The 11-member congressional delegation has seven men and four women; Representative Ayanna Pressley is the sole person of color in the delegation. The Legislature and local elected officials reflect the same lack of diversity. Ranked-choice voting would produce leaders who better represent our electorate and strengthen decision-making and fairness in Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe