To the editor:

Some readers of this newspaper may still find the issue of ranked choice voting (Question No. 2 on the ballot) confusing. So, we at the League of Women Voters of Cape Ann would like to offer a simple analogy of what ranked choice voting can mean. If you are out for dinner at a restaurant (socially distanced, of course) and you would like to have the swordfish, you order the swordfish but add: “If I can’t get the swordfish, I’ll take the salmon. If there is no salmon, I’ll have the cod.” Your chances of getting one of the three are quite high. However, if you just order the swordfish and he restaurant is out of it, they may substitute spiny dogfish because they have some left over from the two customers who ordered it a week ago. You would be much better off having ranked your choices at the beginning than having to settle for an option very few desire.

As a practical matter, ranked choice voting can eliminate the cost and other resources involved in being forced to hold a runoff election when no one receives a majority on the first ballot. The process has successfully been used to elect leaders in Australia since 1918 and in Cambridge for municipal elections since 1941. It is time for people in the rest of Massachusetts to have the same option.

Theo MacGregor

League of Women Voters Cape Ann

Gloucester

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