The Massachusetts Republican State Committee has come out in opposition of a ranked-choice voting ballot measure, calling it a “confusing voting system” that ups the potential for rigging and gaming elections.

“One person, one vote. That’s the bedrock of American elections,” Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said in a statement. “If ranked-choice voting had existed in 1860, Abraham Lincoln would not have been elected president, that’s a fact.”

If voters approve ranked-choice voting in the Nov. 3 election, it will change the way ballots are cast in state elections. Instead of voting for one candidate, voters would rank candidates in order of preference — first, second, third, and so on.

If one candidate receives a majority of more than 50% of the first-choice votes, they win. If no one reaches that threshold, the bottom-scoring candidate is dropped and anyone who voted for that candidate gets their second-place choice counted instead. The process continues until a candidate breaks 50%.

The state GOP committee voted unanimously last week to oppose the ballot initiative, stating the ranked-choice voting system “goes against the Massachusetts Constitution, which has for 240 years held that “the person with the ‘highest number of votes’ is the winner of an election,” according to a press release.

The initiative has earned wide support among progressive organizations and Democrats — including from MassDems, the party’s state committee.

Nearly all of state’s all-Democratic federal delegation has also thrown its support behind the ballot measure, with U.S. Reps. Richard Neal, Stephen Lynch and William Keating so far abstaining.

The Yes on 2 campaign says the measure is a “common-sense reform that gives voters more voice, more choice, more power and more freedom. It will strengthen our democracy by ensuring our leaders are supported by the broadest majority of voters and reflect the true will of the people.”

But Republicans argue the opposite.

“Ranked Choice Voting raises the potential for rigging and gaming elections,” the GOP said in their resolution.

State Republicans also called it a “confusing voting system that has been shown to result in a disproportionate number of ‘spoiled’ ballots cast by the less educated, those for whom English is not their first language and people of color; and older voters.”


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