There are growing voices seeking reforms towards a ranked voting system in Massachusetts, an unusually innovative system that just was started in the state of Maine. The September Democratic congressional primaries in Massachusetts witnessed a tight race that raised questions about the current system. Bob Salsberg of the Associated Press recounted that:
Ten candidates were vying for their party’s nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. 4 primary, Lori Trahan and Dan Koh, wound up separated by only a few dozen votes after the initial count. The recount sought by Koh in the 37 cities and towns of the 3rd Congressional District is slated to conclude Monday.
Regardless of the outcome, the winner will have done so with just slightly more than 20 percent of the total Democratic votes cast in the race — a result that some see as troubling if not outright undemocratic.
The situation has led to advocates of ranked voting system arguing that the state should “adopt a system allowing voters to rank candidates on the ballot rather than select just a single one.” The frustration arose from a recount of the votes that to some exposed the current system’s problems. Voting method systems like Instant Runoff Voting or Ranked Choice Voting have the support of many election reformers who feel the change would give the voters the tools to truly pick better candidates, especially at a time when the two dominant parties do not offer consensus candidates.