Why Celtics executive Mike Zarren is working to bring ranked-choice voting to Massachusetts

By Adam Himmelsbach  |  October 13, 2020

Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren arrived in Orlando Aug. 22 and spent more than a month supporting the players in the NBA bubble.

It was an isolated time. He quarantined in his hotel room for a week, and even when he got out, there wasn’t really anyplace to go besides the arena, where he would watch his team come within two wins of the NBA Finals.

But Zarren’s idle hours were filled quickly. In addition to scouring film of draft prospects, communicating with fellow front office members back in Boston, and checking in on his players, he was focused on helping bring ranked-choice voting to Massachusetts.

“Given that we don’t know the dates when anything’s going to happen in the NBA offseason,” Zarren said, “it’s nice to have something I can be involved in winning, and see where it goes.”

Zarren’s interest in the cause swelled from a curiosity to a passion over the past year. He ultimately joined the campaign’s board that worked to get a ballot question approved. In this election, voters will decide whether ranked-choice voting will replace traditional plurality voting in 2022.

Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank multiple candidates on a ballot. If no candidate holds the majority of first-place votes, the one with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated and its second-place votes are redistributed. This process of elimination continues until one candidate has secured 50 percent of first-place votes.

The Boston Globe