Proposed Ballot Question Would Change Massachusetts Electoral System

The group Voter Choice for Massachusetts is pushing a ranked-choice voting system

NBC10 Boston

A proposed ballot question that would overhaul the state's electoral system has cleared another hurdle on the way to next year's ballot.

The group Voter Choice for Massachusetts is pushing what is called a ranked-choice voting system. On Wednesday, the group said they have submitted more than enough voter signatures to move the question along.

Under the proposed system, voters have the option of ranking candidates on the ballot in order of their preference _ one for their top choice, two for their second choice, and so on. If a candidate garners a majority of first-place 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 toward their second choice. The process repeats until one candidate receives a majority of the vote and wins. Supporters say the goal is to eliminate the so-called spoiler effect by making sure no candidate wins without a majority of votes.

The ranked-choice voting question would apply to future state and federal elections and primaries in Massachusetts.

Maine became the first U.S. state to use the system in primary elections last year. Supporters say the system is also used for some municipal elections in more than 20 states.

A group known as the Right to Repair coalition said Wednesday they've also submitted enough signatures to move a proposed auto repair ballot question forward.

The question calls for updating a state law requiring car manufacturers share diagnostic and repair information with vehicle owners and independent repair shops. Voters overwhelmingly approved that law in 2012 after an expensive ballot campaign. The coalition says it needs to be revised to close loopholes.

Opponents say the changes would make personal driving data available to third parties with no safeguards to protect a driver's private information.

Backers of a proposed question that would update rates paid by the state to nursing homes say they've also cleared the signature hurdle.

Ballot question supporters had to submit the signatures of at least 80,239 registered voters by Wednesday to move the questions along in the process toward next year's ballot.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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