For Immediate Release
December 4, 2019
Contact: Emily Fitzmaurice, Voter Choice for Massachusetts, 617-817-0257
Campaign Collects Over 110,500 Signatures to Put Ranked Choice Voting on 2020 Massachusetts Ballot
Grassroots team delivers signatures from every city and town in Massachusetts
BOSTON – After spending the past weeks talking directly with voters across the Commonwealth about common sense voting reforms, Voter Choice for Massachusetts filed 110,584 signatures with the Secretary of State’s office this morning in support of putting Ranked Choice Voting before the voters on the November 2020 ballot – greatly eclipsing the 80,239 signatures required at this phase.
“With these signatures, we’ve taken a major step towards giving Massachusetts voters the option to rank their ballots in order of preference. We couldn’t have reached our ambitious goals without the hundreds of amazing volunteers who collected signatures in every single part of the Commonwealth,” said Voter Choice for Massachusetts Campaign Director Mac D’Alessandro. “I’m incredibly proud of our grassroots campaign, made up of enthusiastic Ranked Choice Voting champions who know that this common sense reform will strengthen our democracy, give Massachusetts voters a greater voice at the ballot, and re-engage and re-energize Massachusetts voters at this critical time.”
Voter Choice for Massachusetts, the non-partisan campaign looking to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Massachusetts elections in 2022, has been focused for months on building up an impressive grassroots team with a strong presence in all regions of the Commonwealth. Since early September, Voter Choice for Massachusetts activated 1,036 volunteers who spent over 5,000 hours helping the campaign during this phase – including collecting signatures, engaging new volunteers, and helping increase visibility of the campaign and its work in communities all over the state.
The overwhelmingly positive response reported from the campaign was bolstered by the announcement that today’s filing included signatures from each of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns.
“I love that Ranked Choice Voting is a non-partisan issue, so I feel like I can talk to anyone about it, including people who disagree with me about other things, or people who are just as checked-out as I’ve felt in the past,” said Dan Gilbert, a volunteer from Easthampton who single-handedly secured over 1,880 signatures. “How we elect our representatives is the single most important aspect of our democracy and I want to help get more people energized and motivated to get out to vote and RCV is a great way to do that.”
With Ranked Choice Voting, voters still only cast one ballot, but when there are three or more candidates for an office, voters are given the option to rank candidates on their ballot in the order they prefer them: first, second, third, etc. If one candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes, that candidate wins.
If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who ranked the eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their vote count instantly towards the next choice on their ballot. That process repeats until a candidate receives a majority of the vote and wins.
“I put my time into this campaign because our democracy is failing fast and the only cure is for voters to step up and work on fixes that improve how well we’re represented in government. Ranked choice voting is one of those fixes,” said Sherry Reisner, an Arlington resident and campaign volunteer. “One thing I like about RCV is that it can help mitigate the political polarization we’re seeing out there today. With RCV, candidates can’t cater to a small base and win simply because the other candidates split the majority of the vote. People seemed hungry for concrete ways to fix our democracy and those points really seemed to resonate with the voters I spoke with.”
The ballot question would simply provide voters with the option to rank candidates in the order they prefer them. Voters can rank as many or as few candidates as they want, or could choose just one candidate, like they do now.
Voters would be allowed to rank candidates in state-run elections starting in 2022, including statewide Massachusetts elections, local legislative offices, federal congressional offices, and some county elections. The ballot question would not apply to presidential elections or local municipal elections.
A similar ballot question recently brought Ranked Choice Voting to Maine, where it was used successfully in the 2018 elections and will be used again next year. In addition, Ranked Choice Voting is used for municipal elections in over 20 states.
Made up of thousands of citizens and activists across the state, Voter Choice for Massachusetts is the non-partisan campaign to place a question on the 2020 ballot that would bring Ranked Choice Voting to Massachusetts elections starting in 2022.