FAF Submits Rebuttal to Attorney General in Opposition to Ranked Choice Voting Ballot Questions

On August 2nd, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation submitted written comments to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) casting doubt on the constitutionality of several potential ballot questions, including attempts at imposing ranked choice voting (04, 07, and 08).

Following the proponents’ offering of written comments in favor of their questions, on August 18 the Fiscal Alliance Foundation offered a rebuttal to the AGO. The Fiscal Alliance Foundation’s written comments argue their potential ballot questions cannot go forward since their petition violates the certification clause; essentially, they cannot put the same policy forward as a ballot question within “two election cycles” of a previous attempt. The Fiscal Alliance Foundation also notes that the ballot question includes attempts to change multiple policies within one question, which is also forbidden by the Massachusetts state constitution.

In 2020, proponents of ranked choice voting lost a ballot questions 45.2% to 54.8%, with nearly 80 percent of the state’s municipalities voting against the question. In that election, the proponents spent over $10 million dollars while the opponents spent $8,500.

The Massachusetts constitution protects voters from repeat ballot questions within a short period of time, a measure aimed at preventing advocates from trying to ram through policies via the ballot question process. Massachusetts also has a related subjects requirement, which ensures voters are not asked questions on complicated, omnibus policies that can be difficult to fully understand. The Fiscal Alliance Foundation contends that the potential ranked choice voting ballot question violates both of these protections.

Click here to read a copy of the Fiscal Alliance Foundation’s original written comments.

Click here to read a copy of the follow up response. On September 6, the AGO will make public which ballot questions can advance forward to the signature gathering process.

“The proponents of ranked choice voting are trying to circumvent the state constitution in order to ram through another ballot question even though voters soundly rejected this policy in 2020. The state constitution protects voters from situations just like this, and the Fiscal Alliance Foundation will happily defend the rights of Massachusetts voters before the AGO,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation.

“It would be unlawful and unconstitutional for this ballot question to go forward. The voters of Massachusetts soundly rejected this complicated scheme only three years ago. The proponents of ranked choice voting don’t seem to care about the law or the will of the voters, but the Fiscal Alliance Foundation certainly does, and we will protect the voters from advocates that try to abuse the system,” concluded Craney.