Brian Boyd and Evan Ross: ‘Yes’ on Questions 1 and 2

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Published: 10/21/2020 4:39:01 PM

Elected representatives should have the support of a majority of their constituents. The current system, which requires only a plurality, leads to situations like the recent 4th Congressional District Democratic primary race, in which the winner had only 22% of the vote in a seven-person race.

And it creates a dilemma for the voter — do you vote your first choice even if you’re unsure the candidate can win, or do you strategically back someone who may have a better chance? Voters supporting their first choice could create a “spoiler effect” — splitting the vote and resulting in the election of a candidate opposed by the majority. But strategic voting can obscure the true preferences of the voters.

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) gives voters the opportunity to vote their first, second, third or more choices. Where no candidate receives a majority (50%+1) of first choice votes, the lowest ranked candidate is dropped, and their votes are distributed in accordance with the second choices of their supporters. If there is still no majority, the process proceeds to the next lowest vote recipients until one candidate has a majority.

RCV is preferable to our current system. It permits the selection of a majority winner through a single election, and the calculations can be done electronically while retaining a full paper trail for audit. The Amherst Democratic Town Committee (ADTC), therefore, endorses a “yes” vote on Question 2 on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot. The ADTC also endorses a “yes” vote on Question 1 to level the playing field for motor vehicle consumers and small independent repair shops. To get involved with the ADTC, go to

Brian Boyd  

Evan Ross

Amherst Democratic Town Committee co-chairs  

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