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LETTERS

For backers near and far, Question 2 is the answer

An absentee ballot for the 2020 Maine general election shows how Maine voters are allowed to rank presidential and Senate candidates in order of ranked-choice preference. It is the first time a ranked voting system is being used for a presidential race.
An absentee ballot for the 2020 Maine general election shows how Maine voters are allowed to rank presidential and Senate candidates in order of ranked-choice preference. It is the first time a ranked voting system is being used for a presidential race.David Sharp/Associated Press

No good reason to fear out-of-state money backing ranked choice

After the biggest signature drive in recent Massachusetts history put Question 2 on the ballot, we sought help from any reputable source that would support our campaign for ranked-choice voting, including former governors William Weld and Deval Patrick; many forward-thinking Bay Staters, such as Michael Porter, Ron Shaich, and Steve and Judy Pagliuca; and democracy activists from outside the state. We called all of them; they didn’t call us.

While Monday’s article, “Billionaires bankroll bid on vote choice” (Page A1, Oct. 26), repeatedly hinted that voters should be wary of out-of-state money on this issue, it never said why. Probably because there isn’t any good reason why. There is no financial or business incentive for all these people to support ranked-choice voting. Just like people in Massachusetts who selflessly fund charities working in other states or countries, these are Americans who think our democracy would be better if election outcomes in every state reflected the will of the majority.

RCV will provide major benefits to our democracy, including more elected officials with majority support, fewer extremist winners, less negative campaigning, better candidates, fewer “spoilers,” and more voter participation. We have more than 7,000 Massachusetts volunteers working on the campaign, which was founded entirely by people of Massachusetts. We should not be scared or ashamed to hear from people both inside and outside the state who support it.

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Mike Zarren

Brookline

The writer is a member of the board of Yes on 2.


Two-party system weaponizes politics — RCV would disarm that

In her Oct. 23 Opinion column, “Even voting is now polarized,” Renée Loth points out that even promoting the act of voting has become a partisan issue during this election cycle. But this shouldn’t be surprising given the two-party system’s hegemonic control over our political process. For all intents and purposes, you must be either a Democrat or a Republican to get anywhere in American politics. Anyone who succeeds outside the two parties will eventually be dubbed a spoiler candidate by one of them.

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As such, with each major party having only one real opponent, any aspect of civic life that can be dichotomously weaponized for politics eventually will be. It is simply too tempting for each party not to take up these increasingly benign issues in search of an advantage. (Take mask-wearing, for example.)

Only by bringing the two-party system down a peg or two can we hope to reverse this unrelenting trend toward polarization. We have just such an opportunity to do this in Massachusetts by shifting to ranked-choice voting. It would both eliminate the two parties’ problem with spoiler candidates and give these alternative candidates a fighting chance to win elections.

Scott Whitbread

Winchester