Vote Nov 3

ELECTORS OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT

BIDEN HARRIS

This is essentially your vote for President of the United States. (It says “electors” because we have an Electoral College, so technically you are voting for an “elector” who will cast their vote for your Presidential choice.)  There are many reasons to vote for Joe Biden; in short, we believe it will be easier to pass progressive legislation under a Biden presidency.

SENATOR IN CONGRESS

ED MARKEY

At the national level Congress has two legislative bodies: the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Senators are elected every six years. Our two incumbent Senators are Elizabeth Warren (re-elected in 2018) and Ed Markey (on the ballot this year).  Markey is the Senate author of the Green New Deal, and he has a 40 year record in Congress fighting for the working class and championing progressive legislation.

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS

KATHERINE CLARK/AYANNA PRESSLEY

At the national level Congress has two legislative bodies: the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Representatives are elected every two years.  The incumbent is either Katherine Clark (if you live in the 5th Congressional district) or Ayanna Pressley (if you live in the 7th Congressional district).  Both women are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

COUNCILLOR

Massachusetts has a Governors Council, which consists of 8 members elected in geographic districts. The Governor must seek the advice and consent of the Council with respect to nominations of judges, appointment and removal of notaries and justices of the peace, issuing pardons and commutations and payment of monies from the treasury. The Governor may also consult the Council at their discretion for other matters. 

The current member of the Governor’s Council for the 6th district is Terrence Kennedy, a Democrat, who is running unopposed. This district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so challenges typically happen in the Primary Election, which was held on September 1st. 

SENATOR IN GENERAL COURT

In addition to having a Senate and House of Representatives in Congress (at the national level), we also have two electoral bodies in our legislature at the state level.  Our state legislature is called the “General Court,” and it has a State Senate and a State House of Representatives.  There are 40 state senators, each representing one of 40 districts in Massachusetts.

The current State Senator here in the 34th Middlesex (and more, because these districts are larger than the state rep districts) is Senator Pat Jehlen. She is running unopposed.

This district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so there is rarely a challenger from another party (which would appear on this ballot).  If you want to have an impact on this race, you should make sure to vote in the state Democratic Primary election, which happens in September (this year it was on Sept 1).

REPRESENTATIVE IN GENERAL COURT

In addition to having a Senate and House of Representatives in Congress (at the national level), we also have two electoral bodies in our legislature at the state level.  Our state legislature is called the “General Court,” and it has a State Senate and a State House of Representatives.  

The current State Representative here in the 34th Middlesex is Representative Christine Barber. She is running unopposed.

This district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so there is rarely a challenger from another party (which would appear on this ballot).  If you want to have an impact on this race, you should make sure to vote in the state Democratic Primary election, which happens in September (this year it was on Sept 1).

REGISTER OF PROBATE

The Register of Probate administers the county (in our case, Middlesex County) Probate and Family Court.  Probate covers estates, divorce, adoption, changes of names, wills, and inheritance.  The Register works closely with the Probate judges and clerks to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and has the power to create and administer policies and programs specific to that county.  Generally, a successful Register has experience with law and directly serving their community; because most people enter into probate court don’t have an attorney, the Register should work to create a system that is just and easy to navigate.

The incumbent Register of Probate is Tara DeCristofaro, and she is a Democrat running unopposed.

QUESTION 1

YES

In 2013, Massachusetts passed a “right to repair” law. This law requires that all auto manufacturers allow individuals and independent repair shops to have access to the same vehicle data used to make repairs as dealerships have access to.

The current law exempts auto manufacturers from making this data accessible wirelessly. A “Yes” vote on Question 1 would require auto manufacturers, starting in the year 2022, to sell cars with an open access platform to access this data wirelessly. 

This measure is primarily supported by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, whose top donors are large auto repair companies and the Coalition of Automotive Repair Equality, a trade group representing independent repair shops. 

The measure is opposed by the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, whose largest donors are major auto manufacturers such as General Motors and Toyota. 

We recommend a “Yes” vote on Question 1 in order to protect consumers’ choice to repair their vehicles wherever they please, instead of being forced to use dealerships. 

QUESTION 2

YES

Question 2 proposes that Massachusetts adopt an electoral system known as “ranked choice voting.”  In our current system, a candidate for office only needs a plurality of votes (i.e. more than anyone else) but not a majority of votes (i.e. more than half of all votes) in order to be elected to office.  RCV, however, ensures that the candidate has majority support of the voters.  

How it works:

When voting, the voter has the option (but is not required) to choose more than one candidate to vote for.  They can just pick one (like we do in our current system) or they can pick some or all of them, and rank them in order of their preference:

Candidate Red ………………………….1st choice___ 2nd choice_X_ 3rd choice___

Candidate Yellow ……………………….1st choice_X_ 2nd choice___ 3rd choice___

Candidate Blue …………………………1st choice___ 2nd choice___ 3rd choice_X_

Upon the first tally of the votes, only everyone’s first choice will be counted.  If no candidate has 51% or more of the vote, then the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is removed, and all of their voters’ votes are then sent to voters’ second choice candidates.  This process continues until one candidate has over 50% of the vote.

Why we support it:

Just because a voter’s favorite candidate doesn’t have the votes to win doesn’t necessarily mean that voter doesn’t have any preference regarding the other candidates.  RCV allows voters to have their voices be more fully and accurately heard, and ensures that candidates cannot be elected without a broad base of support.  It also evens the playing field for candidates without the institutional or financial support that is typically required to launch a successful bid for office; voters are now liberated from the fear of being a “spoiler” by voting for a candidate they believe in instead of the one most likely to win.

Who uses RCV?

Currently Maine is the only state to have implemented RCV statewide – Massachusetts can join its NE compatriot by leading the country on this fundamental improvement to our democracy. In addition to ME, RCV is used in some form or another (i.e. municipal elections, presidential primaries) in 26 states.