Massachusetts Democratic Lieutenant Governor Candidate Wants To Ignore Statewide Ballot Question Results

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The people of Massachusetts vote on statewide ballot questions every two years.

Sometimes, left-of-center causes win. Other times, right-of-center causes win.

However, in a few instances where the Right won, Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial candidate and state representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton), 48, wants to ignore the results of the elections.

On issues like physician-assisted suicide, ranked-choice voting, and a state-level charitable tax deduction, Gouveia disagrees with the way the voters of the Commonwealth voted — and would like to do the opposite of what the people voted for.

A visit to Gouveia’s campaign web site shows that on her legislative priorities page, the “Democracy and Transparency” section says “She supports implementing ranked-choice voting” — something that Bay State voters rejected two years ago.

Question 2 on the 2020 ballot asked Bay State voters if they wanted ranked-choice voting in state elections; 45 percent said yes while 55 percent said no.

The system would allow people to rank their preferred candidates in the order of their preference.

It would replace the current system in the state, known as first-past-the-post, in which the candidate with the highest number of votes wins, even if the candidate gets less than a majority.

In ranked-choice voting, voters are presented with a list of candidates and are offered the chance not just to vote for one candidate but instead — if they wish — to number their selections in order of preference. 

In ranked-choice voting, if a candidate receives more than half of the first-place votes, that candidate wins the election — just as with the current system of first-past-the-post.

However, if no candidate receives more than half of the votes, then the bottom candidate is eliminated, and the second-choice selections of voters who picked that candidate first are distributed to the remaining candidates. Election officials add the first-place votes and the second-choice selections for each candidate together.

If more than two candidates survive the elimination, then the second-from-the-bottom candidate is eliminated, and the second-choice selections of voters for that candidate are distributed among the surviving candidates. If the second-choice selections are for a candidate who has already been eliminated, then the candidate’s voters’ third-choice selections are distributed to the remaining candidates — and so on.

This process repeats until there are only two candidates remaining, at which time the candidate with the higher number is declared the winner.

Gouveia also ants to flip the will of the voters on physician-assisted suicide.

A ten years ago, the Bay State voted 51 percent to 49 percent against a statewide ballot initiative that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide in the Commonwealth. Yet, Gouveia is a co-sponsor of H.2381, titled “An Act Relative To End of Life Options.”

The bill would allow physicians to provide medication to “terminally ill” adults for the patient to self-administer. The bill defines “terminally ill” as “having a terminal illness or condition which can reasonably be expected to cause death within 6 months, whether or not treatment is provided.”

Gouveia also supports the state legislature’s current practice of ignoring the decision of state voters on charitable tax deductions.

In 2000, 72 percent of Bay State voters voted to enact a state-level charitable tax deduction. 

Yet, Massachusetts has no such deduction.

In 2000, the same year Massachusetts voters approved the charitable deduction, state voters also approved a decrease in the state income tax to 5 percent. (It was 5.9 percent at the time.) Some 59 percent supported while 41 percent opposed.

But lawmakers decided that instead of an immediate cut that the state income tax would drop gradually by tiny increments — 0.05 percentage points per year — if certain conditions were met. As a result, the income tax didn’t fall to 5 percent until January 1, 2020 — or a little more than 19 years after voters approved it.

The original bill stretching out the periodic income tax reductions called for implementing the charitable deduction after the income tax hit 5 percent. That means the charitable deduction was on schedule to take effect on January 1, 2021 — or more than 20 years after voters approved it.

Yet it hasn’t happened. State lawmakers postponed the charitable deduction in the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget and did so once again for fiscal year 2022. Gouveia voted to delay its implementation both times, according to State House News Service and Progressive Massachusetts.

Now the deduction is set to go into effect in 2023 unless lawmakers vote to delay it again. 

Gouveia’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Sunday or Monday this week. 


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