Still have questions about Ranked Choice Voting? We have answers! Learn the facts here, and then YOU decide. Vote informed!
MYTH: Ranked Choice Voting is confusing.
92% of Minneapolis voters say Ranked Choice Voting is “simple” to use.
FACT: RCV is simple, fair, and straightforward.
92% of Minneapolis voters
said voting with RCV is “simple.” Minneapolis has been using RCV since 2009 and voters continue to report positive results.
Over 90% of Maine voters
reported to the League of Women Voters that their first experience using RCV in 2018 was either “excellent” or “good.”
94% of Maine voters
according to the same study, took the opportunity to rank their candidates instead of picking just one.
Ranking preferences is simple for voters, because we all experience a range of choices in our daily lives — whether at the grocery store, or when deciding which sports game to watch on TV. Choice in politics should be the same way. Opponents claim that Massachusetts voters aren’t intelligent, “sophisticated,” engaged, or thoughtful enough to meaningfully rank their choices.
Voters in Massachusetts are just as capable and intelligent as the voters of Ireland, Maine, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, or the many other places where Ranked Choice Voting has been used for years.
For more detail, check out “How Does RCV Work?” or watch this one-minute video to see Ranked Choice Voting in action!
MYTH: If I don’t rank ALL the candidates, my vote won’t count.
FACT: With Ranked Choice Voting, every person gets exactly one vote, whether or not you rank choices.
If you choose not to rank your candidates and instead cast a “bullet vote” for just one, your vote still goes to the person you support.
Unfortunately, with most of our current elections, lots of votes don’t count. Elected officials have won political races despite a majority of voters preferring a different candidate — in Massachusetts, members of Congress have won office twice in the past two years with only 22% of the vote each. Ranked choice voting prevents that from happening.
Federal courts from Maine to California have unanimously upheld ranked choice voting as constitutional and fully consistent with the one person one vote requirement. Read all about these common misconceptions on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
MYTH: Implementing RCV will be too costly.
FACT: RCV is inexpensive and cost-effective.
Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin has indicated confidence that implementing Ranked Choice Voting and conducting additional voter education will not be expensive; as in Maine, the process in Massachusetts can take place in conjunction with pro-voting groups including the League of Women Voters (who endorse a “yes” vote on Question 2), and with existing funds from the Help America Vote Act.
When implemented in Maine, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap initially slated the cost of implementing RCV at $1.5 million; Dunlap later shared with the Law Court that the final cost its first use was only $89,000 — less than $0.08 per voter.
MYTH: Ranked choice voting is too confusing for senior citizens.
FACT: Senior citizens in Maine who used RCV report high satisfaction.
Maine has the highest number of retired voters per-capita in the nation, and fewer college degrees on average than voters in Massachusetts. Regardless, over 90% of Maine voters reported that their first experience using RCV in 2018 was either “excellent” or “good.”
After using RCV for the first time in 2018, Maine saw no significant increase in the rate of improperly-marked disqualified ballots, compared to previous non-RCV elections. There is no reason to expect things in Massachusetts should be different.
Here in Massachusetts, voters over age 55 have helped to lead the effort to place Ranked Choice Voting on our ballot, and make up a large proportion of the 6,400+ volunteers from every one of the 351 communities in the Commonwealth. Throughout 2019-2020, voters both younger and older gathered more than 128,780 certified signatures to qualify Question 2 for a statewide vote. They firmly believe the plethora of pros outweigh any cons with Ranked Choice Voting, and have put their time, muscle, and energy into bringing it before voters on November 3rd.
MYTH: Ranked choice voting is “too difficult” for voters of color.
FACT: Voters of ALL racial backgrounds understand RCV.
Quoting State Representative Andres X. Vargas of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus: “You might hear some messages that [RCV] is going to disenfranchise people of color, or it’s ‘too confusing’ for low-income communities… and nothing could be further from the truth.” “To insinuate that people of color and people in low-income communities don’t know how to rank their favorite choices 1-2-3 — is really disrespectful. This is a mechanism that could further empower them to run for office.”
In the Bay Area of California, where ranked choice voting has been in place in four cities for more than a decade, the percentage of seats won by candidates of color increased from 38% to 62%. RCV is a system that is proven to empower historically marginalized communities. A 2019 study also showed no differences in understanding RCV between white, African-American, and Latinx voters.
Further, a recent UMass Amherst/WCVB poll (October 14-21, 2020) of 713 likely MA voters indicates strong support for RCV among non-white voters, who favor a “yes” vote on Question 2 by a strong 20 percentage-point margin.
“Having more vehicles to enact and get more representation in places like the State House has a real-world effect on who is there… fighting for the kind of reforms that we’re calling for, that we know are needed to make our communities feel respected, whole, and safe. Ranked Choice Voting is not just a theoretical political exercise for me; this is something that has real, practical impacts on my life as a Black man… I think it’s very, very important that we do each and every thing that we can to enfranchise and to increase the diversity among our elected officials.” — David Halbert, MA DSC
MYTH: Ranked Choice Voting is partisan.
FACT: RCV is supported by people ACROSS the political spectrum.
Yes On 2 is proud to have the support of Massachusetts voters, electeds, and groups from all across the political spectrum – including two-thirds of our Congressional delegation, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, former Govs. Patrick and Weld, and 87 members of the Massachusetts House and Senate. In addition, the Boston Globe and many other local newspapers and organizations have repeatedly endorsed our campaign.
The campaign is multi-partisan; in addition to endorsements from Massachusetts Democrats, Greens, and Libertarians, many Republicans and independents locally and nationally have registered their support for RCV, and are serving as co-chairs and advisors on our campaign.
They include Former Governor Bill Weld, Former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Murphy Healey, Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter, and Former Chairwoman of the Mass. Republican Party Jennifer Nassour.
The Utah Republican Party has been using Ranked Choice Voting at their party convention for nearly 20 years and is moving to have it enacted legislatively for state elections next term. Strong RCV champions include Governor of Utah Gary Herbert, Lieutenant Governor of Utah Spencer Cox, and notable Former U.S. Senator John McCain.
As the late Senator McCain noted, Ranked Choice Voting will “lead to good government, because voters will elect leaders who have the support of a majority.” The need to earn that majority, he continued, means leaders will be “more likely to listen to all.”
In a time when our country is so bitterly divided, RCV is the rare reform that enjoys multi-partisan support. It can help bring us together, and Massachusetts voters will weigh the pros and cons of Ranked Choice Voting, and then take the biggest step so far to unite us, by voting YES on November 3rd, 2020.
MYTH: RCV leads voters to making mistakes on their ballots.
FACT: Studies show errors on RCV ballots are no more common than on our existing ballots.
The state of Maine implemented RCV for the first time in 2018, and did NOT see a significant increase in voters making ballot-marking errors with RCV, compared to previous non-RCV elections. Only 8% of respondents to a survey by the League of Women Voters of Maine said they had ever used RCV in a previous election.
Nationwide, a 2016 study showed that, among 26 cities using Ranked Choice Voting, the adoption of RCV was not associated with any change in the number of overvotes, undervotes or spoiled ballots in those places that used RCV ballots. (summary, full study)
MYTH: Massachusetts is not ready for RCV.
FACT: We’re ready.
Our campaign cleared the biggest signature threshold in Massachusetts ballot question history, by talking to voters about the pros and cons of Ranked Choice Voting and gathering over 128,780 certified signatures from Massachusetts citizens of every political persuasion who want RCV – including over 28,000 signatures during the pandemic, after the Supreme Judicial Court allowed for America’s first ever electronic signature gathering campaign for a ballot question. We have 6,400+ Mass. citizens volunteering on our campaign; to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands more who are showing their support and proudly voting YES.
Once Question 2 passes, Massachusetts will have two full years to implement and prepare for the first election with RCV starting in 2022.