Will Massachusetts Soon Follow Maine in Adopting Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked choice voting has grown significantly in popularity since the battle between voters and politicians in Maine caught the attention of national media outlets. Now, there are a number of states that could soon follow Maine's example.
One of the most notable efforts is in Massachusetts, where a growing organization, Voter Choice Massachusetts, is making a strong push for the voting reform. And the reason could not be simpler: "Our politics are dysfunctional."
That is what Voter Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Adam Friedman told MassLive. He added:
"I see [RCV] as a commonsense change that gives voters more power and more freedom and also allows candidates to run without being pressured to drop out by others and say wait your turn or demonize them for potentially being a spoiler or hurting a stronger candidate."
Last year, Friedman made the case for RCV at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention in an effort to get the delegates to vote in support of the reform. His words seemed to have a major impact too because the party voted to add support for ranked choice voting to the its new platform.
"Changing voting is an important thing to do. It's something that's a sacred right everyone has," Friedman said. "We want to make sure people give it full consideration with a public airing of all sides of doing this, so we know there's really strong support once we put it to a vote."
Maine became the first state to use ranked choice voting on June 12. According to online survey results from the League of Women Voters, 90 percent of respondents said their experience with ranked choice voting in the primary was "good" or "excellent."
The initiative to protect RCV brought out tens of thousands of voters who just voted for ranked choice voting. With significant grassroots support, the numbers point to independents driving RCV's success in Maine.
Friedman and other reformers in Massachusetts want to repeat this success in their state.
Bills that went before the legislature this year to make it easier for municipalities to adopt ranked choice voting and establish its use statewide were sent to study by a legislative committee. This means they are dead for the year.
Friedman says if the the legislature doesn't move on ranked choice voting next year, he will consider a ballot initiative push for 2020.