"Though ranked-choice voting has been bruited about for years as a way to improve elections, I never wrote about it because the debate always seemed so abstract. It’s not abstract anymore. Question 2 on the Massachusetts ballot would implement ranked-choice statewide beginning in 2022. If the initiative passes, elections in Massachusetts will change dramatically.
It won’t be a change for the better.
Proponents of ranked-choice voting argue that the current system, in which the candidate getting the most votes wins the election, is unfair. In a two-candidate race, the winner always receives a majority of the votes, but when three or more candidates are on the ballot, it takes only a plurality, not an outright majority, to win. Ranked-choice advocates call that unjust. “Democracy is supposed to be majority rules,” says Evan Falchuk, who ran for governor in 2014 as an independent and now chairs the Yes on 2 Committee. “We should have a system where the majority wins.”
But by definition, ranked-choice voting only applies to elections in which there isn’t a majority winner. On a ranked-choice ballot, voters can list candidates in order of preference, rather than vote for just the candidate they like best. If no candidate gets more than half of the first-place votes, ranked-choice rules trigger a series of automatic do-overs, repeatedly reallocating votes that went to the least popular candidate until an artificial “majority” is created for one of the remaining candidates. Question 2 thus gives some voters multiple bites of the election apple. At the same time, it effectively disenfranchises other voters — those who don’t rank enough candidates for their ballot to last through multiple rounds of tabulation."
|Boston Globe: "Why ranked choice is the wrong choice"|