The crowded and chaotic Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts that is now being recounted has fueled calls from election reform advocates for the state to adopt a system allowing voters to rank candidates on the ballot rather than select just a single one. 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 candidates knew their roadmap was through the current system where they could only get one vote from a voter, so they weren’t even trying to get to 50 percent,” said Rob Richie, president and chief executive of FairVote, a Maryland-based organization that advocates for ranked-choice voting.
With only a plurality of votes needed, regardless of how small that might be, campaigns tend to focus on narrow bands of voters, producing an unsatisfactory outcome for a majority of voters and discouraging future participation in primaries, he added.
Richie calls the Massachusetts race a “poster child” for ranked-choice voting, in which voters place candidates in numerical order of preference, from their No. 1 choice down to their least favorite.
Full Article: After chaotic House race, some call for new voting system.