On The Ballot: Ballot Measures 2020

For many, the first time voting can be stressful. Looking at your ballot and seeing a long piece of paper with names and titles that you haven’t heard of, trying to remember ads with flashy “YES ON 1” banners – it’s a lot. 

I can’t tell you what will be on each of your ballots, that varies by city (this website can though, vote411.org) but we can talk about a state-wide initiative, ballot measures.

Ballot measures are the reason you see the ads and sign that tell you “NO ON 1” or “YES ON 2”. They are questions that have been certified to be on the 2020 ballot for us to vote on. 

This year, we have two ballot measures. We’ll be voting on the right to repair and ranked-choice voting.

Question 1: Right to repair

According to The Boston Globe, question 1 seeks out to expand Massachusetts’ right to repair law. If passed, the measure would expand access to mechanical and diagnostic data transmitted wirelessly from a car for independent auto repair shops and dealerships. Feelings on this measure are strong on both sides of the aisle. Supporters argue that passing the measure would give consumers more choices on where to have their vehicles repaired. Opponents say that expanding access to car data could result in safety concerns. 

Voting “yes” on question 1 would allow expanded access to the data. Voting “no” on question 1 would make no changes to the law. 

Question 2: Ranked-choice voting

Question 2 seeks out to ask voters if a ranked-choice voting system should be implemented in the Massachusetts elections. This includes statewide offices, State House seats, congressional offices, etc. 

With a ranked-choice voting system, voters are asked to rank candidates by preference rather than voting for only one. With this system, if one candidate receives a majority of the vote, more than 50 percent, they are declared the winner. If no candidate receives a majority vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped and those votes count towards the next choice on each voter’s ballot. This process repeats in rounds until one candidate has a majority.

Supporters of the measure say ranked-choice gives the voters greater control over the political system and guarantees that election winners have support among the majority rather than a plurality. Opponents called the system confusing and said it forces voters to guess which candidate would survive multiple rounds of voting, according to The Boston Globe.

Voting “yes” on question 2 would implement a statewide ranked-choice voting system. Voting “no” on question 2 would make no changes to the law. 

The election is coming up, do you have a plan to vote? For Massachusetts residents, go to sec.state.ma.us for information on registering, early voting, and finding your polling place.

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