ICYMI: Warren and Raskin Publish Op-Ed in Support of Ranked-Choice Voting

September 18, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) today published a joint op-ed in the Boston Globe in support of ranked-choice voting, which is also on the ballot in Massachusetts this November.

Ranked-choice voting is a better way to vote

By Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Raskin

Boston Globe Link

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To defend our democracy, we need to fortify it. One way is by strengthening the principle of majority rule while defending and protecting the rights of all individuals, including those in the minority. Massachusetts voters have a chance to do just that in November by approving ranked-choice voting on Question 2.

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Although many people believe that majority rule is a core part of what it means to be a democracy, numerous examples show why this isn't the case in the American system of government. In two of the last five presidential elections, the antiquated Electoral College system has propelled two popular-vote losers (George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016) to the Oval Office. The Senate is still tied up in knots with the anti-majoritarian filibuster rule. And, in far too many other races, elected officials win not because they actually earn anything near a majority of the votes but because they collect a few more votes than the runners-up. That is how the current plurality system works.

To fix this, communities across the country - from Maine to California, and even here in Amherst and Cambridge - have taken steps to safeguard our democracy by adopting ranked-choice voting.

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Today's elections host some of the largest and most diverse candidate fields - and that's great. But in the current plurality system, large fields split up common voting blocs. So most voters might overwhelmingly prefer to elect identified environmentalists to their town council, and a dozen environmentalists might show up to vie for that spot - but as the green dozen divides up the majority of votes, a single, pro-fossil-fuel candidate who stirs up antienvironmental sentiment could win with only a small fraction of total votes cast.

Ranked-choice voting has another remarkable virtue: Everywhere it has been adopted, it has replaced the politics of personal destruction with positive coalition politics. If two like-minded candidates are running against each other in a large field, they are more likely to work for the second and third choices of their opponent's supporters by appealing to what they have in common rather than focusing on divisive issues.

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Ranked-choice voting can make our elections more positive and require successful candidates to build broad coalitions. It can ensure that everyone's vote counts and open the door to elections that more fairly represent the electorate. Most important, ranked-choice voting can make sure that the winning candidates have successfully appealed to the majority of the voters. That's a stronger democracy.

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