FRAMINGHAM – I consider myself a moderate. Throughout my life, I have been registered as a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent. Until recently, I had never contributed to a political campaign or held signs or made calls for a political candidate. In fact, I was opposed to voter-driven initiatives, because I felt that our elected officials should be responsible for understanding and voting on issues that mattered to constituents. When the possibility of ranked choice voting came to Massachusetts, I changed my mind.
Like many, I have become frustrated by the plurality system of elections, where a candidate could win with less than majority support. I have been part of the frustrated majority that feels that their vote didn’t count. I have had to hold my nose to vote for a candidate who doesn’t best match my beliefs because the alternative was just too much to contemplate. I have seen the candidate that I supported lose because a small number of votes were syphoned off by a third party.
Ranked Choice Voting is a non-partisan initiative that offers a true choice to frustrated voters like me. It allows people to vote first for the candidate who best matches their beliefs. If they choose, they rank other candidates on the ballot according to their preference. Voters can also leave blank those candidates that they find repugnant. No one ever has to vote for a candidate that they don’t like. In our current system, in a four way race, a candidate can win with only 26% of the vote. With ranked choice voting, only candidates with majority support can win.
Two hundred years ago, our election system was established with no template for a national democracy. America’s founders did an amazing job creating something from nothing. They did the best they could with the limitations of their times and the compromises that had to be made to create this country. Since then we have found a small way to give voters more choice and more say in the outcome. That simple change is Ranked Choice Voting. It has been successfully implemented in countries (Ireland and Australia) as well as a US state (Maine).
Please join me in voting YES on Question 2.