Ranked voting offers more options

By Cheryl Clyburn-Crawford  |  September 17, 2020

The past few years have seen a wide range of elected positions, from Boston City Council to US Congress, filled by Black, Latinx, Asian, and female candidates. Yet, while our democracy has much to be proud of, all too often the majority of voters see their voices ignored.

For example, In 2013, then-State Sen. Katherine Clark won the highly-competitive Fifth Congressional District Democratic primary with 31.6 percent of the vote. In 2018, Lori Trahan won the Third Congressional District Democratic Primary with 21.7 percent of the vote. Just a few weeks ago, Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss won the highly-competitive Fourth Congressional District Democratic primary with 22.4 percent of the vote. And, right here in Dorchester, Brandy Fluker Oakley won the Twelfth Suffolk State Rep. Democratic primary with 39.3 percent of the vote in a four-person race.

As of now, the most competitive elections in our state do the poorest job in reflecting the will of most voters. Fortunately, we can fix that this fall by voting Yes on Question 2—for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a system that would allow voters to rank candidates in the order of their preference, as opposed to selecting only one.

If, for example, six candidates are running, voters can rank those candidates from one to six. If a candidate wins a majority of votes on the first ballot — that is 50 percent + 1— then the election ends there. But if no one attains a majority, the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated and those that ranked said candidates first have their second choice counted instead. This continues until one candidate attains the majority of support.

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