Baker, Polito knock Question 2 as costly, complicated

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito plan to vote against the ballot question that would implement a ranked-choice system for Massachusetts elections, their campaign announced Tuesday in quoting them.

“At a time when we need to be promoting turnout and making it easier for voters to cast their ballots, we worry that question two will add an additional layer of complication for both voters and election officials, while potentially delaying results and increasing the cost of elections,” Baker and Polito said in a statement. “We believe the system we have now has served the Commonwealth well, and intend to vote ‘no’ on question two.”

The statement landed a week before the Nov. 3 election and after more than 1.7 million people, or 36 percent of the state’s registered voters, had already cast their ballots through either in-person or mail-in early voting.

If Question 2 passes, elections for Congressional and state-level offices in Massachusetts would be decided by a ranked-choice voting method. Residents would rank their candidates for office — instead of picking just one as they do now — and if one candidate gets a majority of the votes, that candidate is the winner. If no one gets a majority, the candidate receiving the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are reassigned to each voter’s second choice, with the process repeating until someone claims a majority.

Baker’s predecessor, Deval Patrick, has endorsed the ballot question, which he has described as “one thing we can do right now to empower voters at this critical time in our democracy” and a way “to give Massachusetts voters a stronger voice and ensure that our elected leaders have majority support.”