Newton councilor says we need ranked-choice voting

By City Councilor-at-Large Becky Grossman |  October 5, 2020

In the aftermath of the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District, there’s been a renewed emphasis on the need for ranked-choice voting – and for good reason. This election was just the latest example in a pattern of the winner earning nowhere close to a majority of all votes. In the end, five candidates in the race won over 10% of the vote, and the victor received support from less than a quarter of the electorate.

A similar scenario played out just two years ago in the packed Democratic primary to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas in Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District: the winner earned just above 21 percent of the vote, with four other competitors trailing closely behind.

Especially in crowded primaries, we’re seeing that our current voting system is increasingly producing winners who attract support from only a narrow slice of the electorate. In a moment when many Americans are disillusioned with our political system, we should be striving to bring more voters into the process and elevate the will of the people at the ballot box. And in a democracy, our electoral outcomes should better reflect the preferences of the voters. Ranked-choice voting is a common-sense solution to these issues.