Hampshire County voters OK Questions 4 & 5

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    Ruth Wheeler, an election worker at Jackson Street school, hands out "I Voted Stickers," Tuesday afternoon. gazette staff/carol lollis

Staff Writer
Published: 11/7/2018 1:13:46 AM

NORTHAMPTON — A nonbinding question over single-payer health care saw strong support statewide and Hampshire County, while another nonbinding question about ranked-choice voting was also approved, but by closer margins.

At press time, 78 percent of voters statewide voted “yes” on Question 4, which addressed single-payer health care with about 66 percent of the vote in. Fifty-eight percent of voters supported Question 5 on ranked-choice voting, with about 50 percent of the vote in on Tuesday night.

Question 4, put on the ballot by Western Mass Medicare for All, asked voters if they support a single-payer health care system in the state. It was up for vote in the 1st Hampshire, 2nd Hampshire, 3rd Hampshire districts, the 1st Franklin District, and 5th Hampden and 2nd Berkshire districts.

In Hampshire County, 36,508 votes were cast on the “yes” side for Question 4 and 9,046 on the “no” side, but several towns had yet to report results.

Larry O’Conner of Hatfield said he voted yes on Question 4.

“I think single payer is great,” he said outside the polls at Hatfield Town Hall. “Insurance companies make it too complicated.”

Question 5 addressed ranked-choice voting, a system where voters rank multiple choices in order, instead of choosing just one candidate.

States like Maine and cities like Cambridge already use this system. The 1st Hampshire and 3rd Hampshire districts voted on the ballot question in Hampshire County where 17,587 voters were on the “yes” side and 9,882 voted “no,” with the vast majority of cities and towns reporting.

Patricia Murphy of Northampton voted in support of ranked-choice voting. “I liked that question,” she said. “I know it gives you more choices.”

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