Ranked Choice Voting for Massachusetts

We are the grassroots movement to make Massachusetts the next state in US history to enact Ranked Choice Voting.

The Problem

Nationally, our democracy is in crisis. Our plurality voting system shuffles voters into the dilemma of “lesser of two evils” voting, shuts out new voices, new parties, women, and people of color, allows extremists to win without a majority mandate, and incentivizes negative campaigning. In Massachusetts, our state is literally the least competitive in the nation for State House office, which means incumbents routinely walk back into office every cycle. This makes for a government that is less accountable, less responsive, and even corrupt: our last three House Speakers resigned under clouds of corruption and were convicted of felonies.

The Solution

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows voters to rank their choices on the ballot (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc), instead of vote for one. This frees voters from being forced to pick from the “lesser of two evils” and allows them to vote honestly, even outside of the perceived front-runners or two-party system. RCV allows candidates with the best ideas, and not the biggest bank accounts or the insider connections, have a fair shot at running for office and winning. It curtails negative campaigning, as candidates can work to appeal to those beyond their base for 2nd and 3rd choice votes. If they mudsling against an opponent, they can lose these additional rankings from that opponents’ base. RCV has been associated with an increase in women’s representation in the cities where has been enacted, like Oakland, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.

Planned Use Of Funds

In November 2016, the state of Maine became the first in the nation to enact Ranked Choice Voting statewide. Since then, activists in Massachusetts hit the ground running to build the capacity to be next. Our campaign to build our list, raise money, and gather endorsements has been in full swing for the past 20 months: we’ve grown from 200 to 16,000 supporters on our email list; including 3,500 who have signed up to volunteer (90% live event outreach signups); we’ve raised nearly $200,000 from over 800 individual donors; and we’ve secured high profile endorsements from the Boston Globe, the Secretary of MA, and 2 of our 9 Members of Congress, plus several advocacy organizations. Our end goal is to enact RCV for federal and state elections in Massachusetts via legislation or ballot measure. The biggest obstacle to widespread adoption of Ranked Choice Voting is not opposition -- it is education. But that education has to be of a very particular kind: it has to be accessible and simple. Thus, we plan on using the funds to conduct A/B testing on a set of 1-min explainer videos, and then micro-target MA audiences on Facebook and other social media to determine which visuals and text are most effective at converting likely voters to embrace Ranked Choice Voting.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Voter Choice Massachusetts

This project was nominated by: