By SCOTT LEVESQUE
Massachusetts voters have rejected the adoption of rank choice voting.
With 99% of the vote accounted for, Question 2 lost by a margin of 55% to 45%, ending an 18-month campaign to transform the state’s election system.
The measure had widespread support from most of the state’s top Democratic leaders, including U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. And with a 3,000-to-1 fundraising advantage over the opposition, Question 2 had a clear opportunity for victory.
The same group responsible for the 2016 rank choice voting measure passed in Maine had raised over $10 million for Question 2 in Massachusetts.
If passed, Question 2 would have implemented rank choice voting for all state and federal elections in Massachusetts starting in 2022 – except for the presidential race. The measure performed well in Boston and surrounding democratic held suburbs, including winning a 3-1 majority in Cambridge and Somerville.
However, double-digit losses across the state, including Worcester and Springfield, typically Democratic strongholds, left Question 2 on life support and conservative voters eventually pulled the plug.
Proponents of rank choice voting are not ruling out another run in Massachusetts soon.
Like Massachusetts, Alaskans were asked to implement ranked choice voting on Ballot Measure 2. This measure would completely overhaul the state’s election system by inserting rank choice voting, jungle primaries, and eliminating “Outside” or “dark” money, at least for state races, but not for federal races or ballot initiatives.
The campaign championing Ballot Measure 2 raised over $7 million — a 14-1 advantage over the opposition, with almost 99% of funds coming from Outside money.
As of Thursday, Ballot Measure 2 is behind in the voting 44% to 56%, but with nearly 134,000 absentee votes yet to be counted, there’s still a possible path to victory. It’s a result that is similar to what has occurred in Massachusetts.
And like Massachusetts, if Alaska votes down the measure, it could be the target of another attempt, by outside influences, to overthrow the state’s election system for a far less straightforward election model.
The “yes” side would need to get about 59 percent of the remaining uncounted votes in order to change the results.