| Scott Souza | Salem Patch |
SALEM, MA — The possibility of bringing ranked-choice voting to Salem municipal elections was the subject of a two-hour presentation and discussion Wednesday night during which several City Council members and residents expressed support for a change, while there were many questions about the practicality of bringing it to the local level without a statewide framework.
Proponents argued during the statewide campaign — and again during Wednesday’s City Council Committee on Government Services meeting — that ranked-choice voting produces a more proportionally representative elected body that tends to be more diverse.
The current way we vote is not working.
Perhaps the argument for ranked-choice voting that resonated most in the room was that voting with a first, second, third and fourth choice would eliminate the need for a preliminary election each cycle since that process of narrowing the field to two candidates in a single-winner race would be wrapped into the ranked options.
“Eliminating a primary would not only save money but it will give our city clerk’s office more time to get down to what needs to happen (for the general election), prioritize and do so without being so stressed out,” City Councilor Andy Varela said. “I also believe we still have a problem with voter engagement in our city and it’s safe to say that the current way we vote is not working. I really believe that when it comes to voter engagement we need to make the way we vote less confusing and figure out a way to get more people to vote.”