Let's Bring Ranked Choice Voting to Somerville!

Email: info@somervillercv.org

Background Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson

Who We Are

We are a group of Somerville residents working to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Somerville city elections.

Right now, Somerville municipal elections for Mayor, City Council, and School Committee are conducted via two separate elections: first, a preliminary election is held to get each single-winner race down to two candidates and the at-large City Council election down to 8 candidates for 4 seats; then, a runoff election occurs weeks later to actually select the winner.

We propose to replace these 2 elections with 1 election using Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Each voter ranks the candidates for each office. The candidate with the least first-place votes is eliminated and that candidate's votes reallocated to voters' next choice. This is done until a candidate achieves enough votes to win.

If you would also like to see Ranked Choice Voting in Somerville, email the Charter Review Committee at charterreview21@somervillema.gov and tell them so!

To stay updated on this effort, email us at info@somervillercv.org.

Continue reading below for a discussion on the advantages of Ranked Choice Voting for Somerville!

Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson

Why We Support Ranked Choice Voting (and you should too!)

We believe that our elected officials should represent who we are as a community and govern accordingly.

Ranked Choice Voting requires candidates to appeal to a majority, so candidates must reach out to voters outside of their base to gain 2nd and 3rd place votes to win.

Further, the use of proportional Ranked Choice Voting for multi-winner elections (such as Somerville City Council At-Large) helps ensure that this body is fully representative of Somerville.

Background Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson

We believe that elections should feature candidates with diverse backgrounds and views - and that voters should be able to choose the candidates they truly believe in.

In our current system, voters are often pressured to vote for the "lesser of two evils" rather than the candidate they would truly like to see win. By being able to rank additional candidates, voters have the peace of mind that even if their most-preferred candidate is eliminated, their vote will go to their next choice, rather than help their least favored candidate.

Of course, it helps to actually have candidates on the ballot that we truly want to vote for! With RCV, we see a greater number and more diverse set of candidates run for office and win, including in the most recent high-profile RCV election: the 2021 NYC Democratic Primary.

We believe in civil, issue-oriented political campaigns.

RCV discourages negative campaigning. That's because candidates need to get second and third place votes to win. They won't win those votes if they demonize their opponents! This should encourage candidates to run more positive, issue-oriented campaigns.

Numerous studies have shown that RCV does have this impact. To review the research and learn more about efforts around the country to make RCV a reality, check out the FairVote website.

Background Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson

We believe that we should seek the changes in Somerville that we'd like to see all over Massachusetts and throughout the country.

You may remember that a 2020 ballot initiative for Ranked Choice Voting statewide in Massachusetts didn't pass in the November election. But it did pass in Somerville, where 76% of Somerville voters actually voted for RCV!

Plurality elections around the state result in winners who very likely do not represent the majority of voters in their districts. Ranked Choice Voting does NOT favor any political faction over any other: it simply makes the best course of action for political candidates to persuade more voters that they are good leaders with good ideas, rather than trying to win via dividing the opposition.

If we want Ranked Choice Voting to ultimately prevail statewide and see national reforms like the Fair Representation Act (where Ranked Choice Voting is a means of achieving something close to Proportional Representation in the US), then we ought to walk the walk and build momentum for RCV by passing it in our own city.

Background Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson

How To Get Involved

Join us! Email info@somervillercv.org to join our group of RCV supporters keep up to date on ways you can help bring RCV to Somerville. We're also on Facebook as Somerville for Ranked Choice Voting.

Currently, we are making our case to the Somerville Charter Review Committee, and you can email the committee at charterreview21@somervillema.gov to express support for Ranked Choice Voting, and to get notified of their meetings and events.

Stay tuned for events to spread the word about RCV!

Background Photo by Maureen Tims Peterson