Easthampton voters back multi-winner ranked choice voting

Easthampton elections on Tuesday morning at Easthampton High School.

Easthampton elections on Tuesday morning at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

By MADDIE FABIAN

Staff Writer

Published: 11-08-2023 12:40 PM

EASTHAMPTON — At Tuesday’s election, voters voiced their support for multi-winner ranked-choice voting in future city elections, in a nonbinding ballot question that received 1,721 votes in favor and 1,066 votes against.

Multi-winner ranked-choice voting is a system in which candidates are ranked in order of preference by voters, and it is used for races where multiple people are elected to a single body.

Votes are first counted for each voter’s top choice, and if a candidate receives above a certain threshold for first-choice votes, they are elected. Excess votes over the threshold then transfer proportionately to remaining candidates based on their rankings, and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The process repeats until no unfilled positions remain.

The city currently uses ranked-choice voting for single-winner races including the mayor and precinct councilors.

Voters’ approval of the ballot question means the City Council will explore petitioning the state Legislature for a special act to amend the City Charter to expand ranked-choice voting to include multi-winner city races.

Maddie Fabian can be reached at mfabian@gazettenet.com.

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