Connect with us


Candidates in 4th Congressional District primary back ranked choice voting in 2022



By Chris Van Buskirk

A significant majority of the Democratic candidates in the Fourth Congressional District race support the initiative petition on the Nov. 2 ballot that seeks to implement a ranked-choice voting system in the 2022 elections.

The field includes eight contenders who are seeking to fill the seat that U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III is giving up as he challenges U.S. Sen. Ed Markey this election cycle. Out of the eight candidates who responded to a News Service request for their positions on the major voting reform, seven voiced concrete support for the ballot question — an initiative that appears designed to come into play in races with large fields just like the one the candidates are competing in the Fourth Congressional race.

Natalia Linos, Ihssane Leckey, Ben Sigel, Jake Auchincloss, Jesse Mermell, Becky Grossman, and Alan Khazei all voiced support for the initiative, saying ranked-choice voting increases representation of people of color, boosts election participation and encourages candidates to appeal to a wider base of voters.

Sigel, in his response, said the current Congressional race is an example of why the state needs the new system. “With so many qualified candidates, the winner of this election will most likely need under 20% to win with massive advantages for those from large cities and who can self-fund or rely on wealthy, politically established connections,” he wrote in a statement to the News Service.

Zannetos did not expressly support ranked-choice voting and said runoff elections “would be a more effective reform.”

Under the measure, voters would rank candidates in order of preference and if one candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, they win automatically. If no candidate reaches the threshold with only first-choice votes the bottom candidate is eliminated and any ballots that listed that candidate as the top option are awarded to whomever the voters selected as their second choice. The process repeats until a single candidate has a concrete majority.

Poll results released last week by the MassINC Polling Group show voters in the state are split on whether to support the question. The survey of 501 likely voters found 36 percent in support of the election reform, 36 percent in opposition, and 27 percent undecided.

The News Service reached out to all the Democrats running in the Fourth Congressional District race and asked them if they supported or opposed the reform and to explain their position.

The responses are posted in full below.

Natalia Linos

“I support ranked-choice voting because it requires candidates to have broad support in order to win, and I think that’s good for democracy. I think it’s healthy for candidates to have to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and earn their trust in order to win. Particularly in crowded races with a lot of candidates running for the same seat, like our race in the 4th District Democratic Congressional primary this year, I think a lot of voters wish they could mark down not just their first choice, but their second and third choices and rank the candidates to show support for more than one candidate, and in some cases, make it clear who they’re voting against.”

Ihssane Leckey

“I support ranked-choice voting. I believe it would better reflect the will of voters, make our political system less divisive, and increase representation of Black people and people of color in our government.”

Chris Zannetos

“Chris Zannetos supports the vast majority of voting/election reform contained in H.R. 1, and believes runoff elections would be a more effective reform than rank choice voting.”

Ben Sigel

“Yes, I absolutely support this reform. This Congressional race is a perfect example of why we need Ranked Choice Voting. With so many qualified candidates, the winner of this election will most likely need under 20% to win with massive advantages for those from large cities and who can self-fund or rely on wealthy, politically established connections. Ranked Choice Voting would grow diversity, civic engagement and force candidates to spend more time talking to voters instead of their donors. It would also mean the candidate with the most broad support across the district would win, and not the candidate who has the loudest sliver of the electorate. That’s how I have run my campaign and it shouldn’t be an outlier – it should be the way politics works.”

Jake Auchincloss

“I’ve been an outspoken advocate for Ranked Choice Voting from the beginning, as a simple and fair way to better represent the will of the majority in elections. I’ve worked closely with Voter Choice for Massachusetts through the years, and am proud to have earned the endorsement of Evan Falchuk, Ranked Choice Voting advocate and political reformer. I look forward to voting yes in November to implement Ranked Choice Voting for future elections.”

Jesse Mermell

“Yes, I support Ranked Choice Voting to make our system more Democratic, ensure winners have a plurality of support from the voters and encourage voter participation. But our voting reforms can’t stop there. We have a lot of work to do to dismantle decades — centuries — of voter suppression in this country. That means reinstating the Voting Rights Act, restoring voting rights to the incarcerated and those who have been convicted of a crime, eliminating ID and witness requirements, and implementing universal, automatic vote-by-mail, no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, same-day registration, automatic registration, and online registration everywhere.”

Becky Grossman

“Yes, I support ranked-choice voting, and our race is a prime example of why we need to give voters a stronger voice at the ballot.”

Alan Khazei

“I support the voting reform referendum to change to a ranked-choice voting system. The primary for Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District is a prime example of the need for ranked-choice voting. With so many talented candidates in the race, any candidate could hypothetically win with less than 20 percent of the vote. Ranked-choice voting would ensure that candidates have support from a majority of voters and reduce incentives for running negative campaigns, putting pressure on candidates to build themselves up rather than tearing others down. By making candidates more accountable to the entire electorate, ranked-choice voting would strengthen our democracy, produce higher-quality candidates, and improve the quality of the public discourse.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2017 Fall River Reporter