Massachusetts has a long history of candidates winning elections even though they didn’t receive a majority of the votes. In 2020, the winner of the 4th Congressional Primary received less than 23 percent of the vote. Massachusetts residents from across the state have been advocating for a solution: Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). From holding educational events to passing city-wide RCV laws, these dedicated volunteers laid a strong foundation for a statewide RCV law. In 2019 and 2020, the campaign picked up momentum, putting a statewide RCV measure on the ballot as Measure 2.
After a long campaign, Measure 2 falls short on election day.
In a statement, the campaign said “We came up short in this election, and we are obviously deeply disappointed. But that’s certainly no reflection of the hard work of the thousands of dedicated volunteers, staff and surrogates of this campaign. Even amidst a global pandemic, we were able to mobilize a movement to strengthen our democracy in a time when it’s needed most. 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.”
Measure 2 is endorsed by The Boston Globe, which says that “Massachusetts voters can strike an important blow for majority rule by moving to ranked-choice voting for a number of state and federal elections.”
October 2, 2020
Former MA Governor Bill Weld and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang pen a bipartisan op-ed endorsing Measure 2, saying “It’s time we bring our presidential primary process into the 21st Century by adopting ranked choice voting. This promising non-partisan electoral reform would give voters more voice, choice and power in the primary process.”
September 9, 2020
The Yes on 2 campaign releases a list of over 50 academics, researchers, and election experts who support Measure 2.
September 1, 2020
Massachusetts holds primary elections. The vote in the 4th Congressional District is split between 9 candidates, making it nearly impossible for any to win a clear majority. The winner only had 22.4% of the vote, clearly demonstrating the need for Ranked Choice Voting.
July 29, 2020
The Yes on 2 Campaign announces its honorary co-chairs:
- Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics;
- Kerry Murphy Healey, 70th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and President of the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream;
- Steve Pagliuca, Co-Chairman of Bain Capital and Managing Partner of the Boston Celtics;
- Deval Patrick, 71st Governor of Massachusetts and Founder and Chairman of TogetherFUND;
- Bill Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts;
- Tanisha M. Sullivan, President of the NAACP Boston Branch; and
- Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, President Emeritus at Harvard University and former United States Treasury Secretary.
The campaign needs to collect a second round of signatures to be placed on the ballot, but the COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to safely collect signatures in person. The Supreme Judicial Court rules that ballot initiative signatures may be collected through a secure online system. The ruling allows the campaign to continue signature collection safely, turning in more than enough to qualify for the ballot.
September 4, 2019
The Massachusetts Attorney General certifies the Ranked Choice Voting ballot measure, allowing the campaign to start collecting the signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.
November 1, 2018
Easthampton, Massachusetts votes to adopt Ranked Choice Voting in municipal elections.
Voters in the 1st Hampshire and 3rd Hampshire Districts also approve advisory questions supporting RCV.
October 28, 2018
Amherst, Massachusetts adopts RCV.
November 5, 1940
Voters in Cambridge, Massachusetts approve a charter Amendment adopting a form of Ranked Choice Voting. The system is still used in Cambridge today.