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Ranked-Choice Voting Ballot Initiative Fails in Massachusetts

November 4, 2020

Ranked-choice voting won’t be coming to Massachusetts anytime soon.

Bay State voters rejected Question 2 which would have implemented ranked-choice voting in the state. With about 80 percent of the votes counted over night, 55 percent of voters had said No on 2, so the Yes on 2 campaign conceded.

“We came up short in this election, and we are obviously deeply disappointed,” Cara Brown McCormick, the Yes on 2 campaign manager, told Boston.com in a statement.

“We were attempting to do something historic in Massachusetts and fell short, but the incredible groundswell of support from volunteers and reformers that assembled behind this campaign is reason enough to stay optimistic about the future of our democracy,” she added.

The side supporting ranked-choice voting had around $10 million in funding, mostly coming from out-of-state donors, according to Commonwealth Magazine. It had the backing of former governors like Deval Patrick and Bill Weld, sitting Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as the state’s attorney general Maura Healey.

Conversely, the side opposing it, which largely consisted of members of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, raised about $5,000. MassFiscal spokesman Paul Craney commented on that aspect in a tweet overnight.

“The Yes side had over $10,000,000 of mostly out of state money,” he said. “We had about $5,000. My only regret is that we raised too much! Great fun. #mapoli

 

The final pre-election poll had ranked-choice voting leading among Massachusetts voters. Among survey respondents from a Spectrum News/Ipsos poll released on October 22, 45 percent said they supported it while 34 percent opposed.
 
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and lieutenant governor Karyn Polito came out against it on October 27.

“At a time when we need to be promoting turnout and making it easier for voters to cast their ballots, we worry that question two will add an additional layer of complication for both voters and election officials, while potentially delaying results and increasing the cost of elections,” they wrote. “We believe the system we have now has served the Commonwealth well, and intend to vote ‘no’ on question two.”

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