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To the Editor:
I urge everyone to vote YES on Question 2 on the ballot, for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). It will allow you to express your true preference among multiple candidates without worrying that you might be throwing your vote away by voting for someone who won’t win. It also ensures that whoever wins an election will have received a vote from a majority of those voting, not just more votes than anyone else got.
Ranked Choice Voting allows you (if you want to) to indicate your first choice, your second choice, and so on up to ranking every candidate on the ballot. You are not limited to voting for only one candidate. Therefore, your vote still counts, even if your first choice does not win the election.
In the recent election to replace U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy, the winner of the election got only 22.4% of the vote in a race with nine candidates. In 2019, the Mayor of Fall River, who had been charged with serious criminal activity, won re-election with 35% of the vote in a five-person race.
In both of these elections, the result would almost certainly have been different with Ranked Choice Voting, because voters’ second, third, and subsequent choices would have come into play (if necessary) until a candidate had support from more than 50% of the voters.
Cambridge has successfully been using a more complicated form of ranked voting for 80 years and Australia has used ranked-choice voting for 100 years, with very positive results and benefits. Maine uses RCV as do five other states for presidential primaries and municipalities in eight states.
Ranked Choice Voting will encourage candidates to reduce negative campaigning because they will want second and third choice votes from people voting first for other candidates. It will incentivize participation by a greater variety of candidates and parties because multiple choices on the ballot will allow support for them to be recorded. Similarly, it will encourage greater voter participation because people can indicate their true preferences among candidates.
For all of these reasons and more, I encourage you to support Ranked Choice Voting by voting YES on Question 2 on the November 3 ballot.