Voices & Choices

Massachusetts district attorney primary demonstrates benefits of ranked choice voting

Massachusetts district attorney primary demonstrates benefits of ranked choice voting

A candidate shouldn’t have to consider dropping out to avoid a spoiler in a crowded race. Yet that’s just what some suggested one of the two female progressive candidates should do in the upcoming Democratic primary for Berkshire District Attorney.

The three-way race features a pair of female attorneys with similarly progressive platforms, Judith Knight and Andrea Harrington, along with Paul Caccaviello, who took over after former DA David Capeless resigned in March.

Progressives fear Knight and Harrington will split the vote, allowing Capeless to win even without support from a majority of voters. Under a plurality system, that’s entirely possible, as Rinaldo Del Gallo writes in his latest column for The Berkshire Eagle.

But there’s a better way. Del Gallo, who ran unsuccessfully for state senator in 2016, highlights how ranked choice voting would eliminate fears of spoiler effects and vote splitting in the Berkshire DA primary.

As he explains, a voter could choose Knight as top pick and give second place to Harrington without hurting either candidate’s chances of defeating Caccaviello. And whoever wins will do so after securing a majority of votes.

“Under the current plurality system, organizational strength has to be a concern of the voter if they want to cast an effective, rational vote,” he writes. “But with RCV, voters could go with their conscience and not worry about strategically voting.”

Pointing to the widespread support inspired by Maine’s historic debut of ranked choice voting this year, Del Gallo predicts Massachusetts will be the next state to adopt this “common-sense upgrade.”

For the sake of Massachusetts voters, we hope he’s right.

Read Del Gallo’s column here.

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