LETTER: ‘Our Democracy Deserves Reasonable Dialogue Instead of Mudslinging’

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FRAMINGHAM – Time and again, our voting system fails to live up to our democratic standards, with election “winners” earning less than a majority of votes, among other issues. But  Massachusetts voters have the chance to change that in the November election by voting Yes on Question 2 for Ranked Choice Voting.

It seems increasingly common that voters are settling for the “lesser of two evils” when they cast their ballots. When their favorite candidate looks unlikely to win, voters worry that voting for them would be a waste or take a vote away from a similar, more popular, candidate (that is, “split the vote”). The current plurality voting system (in which a candidate needs the most votes, but not a majority/over 50% to win) dissuades candidates who are diverse in their views and life experiences from running. In addition, candidates attack and demonize each other because they know they either “get” or “lose” every voter. That also polarizes the process and encourages extremism. It’s no wonder we wind up electing good fighters and not good leaders.

Ranked Choice Voting is a simple way to eliminate these substantial problems. If passed, starting in 2022, voters in Massachusetts will have the option to rank candidates from their favorite to least favorite. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the candidate in last place is eliminated and their voters’ second choice votes are distributed to the appropriate candidates. This would force candidates to not only distinguish themselves, but also acknowledge similarities with their opponents — second and third choice rankings are better than nothing. It would also shift the discourse in a far more positive direction. Furthermore, voters wouldn’t have to worry about vote-splitting between similar candidates or empowering their least favorite by voting for a third party candidate. 

A diverse electorate deserves diverse candidates. Our democracy deserves reasonable dialogue instead of mudslinging. All voters’ voices should be heard, not just the ones voting for the top two candidates. That is real democracy.

Please, be kind to one another, wear a mask, and join me by voting YES on Question 2 for Ranked Choice Voting.

Julia Barton

Framingham

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

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