Right to Repair given the go, but Ranked Choice sees defeat from Massachusetts voters

Dennis Donoghue, left, and Mary Mi hold signs encouraging voters to vote “Yes” on question 2: ranked-choice voting. Photo by Caroline Bowden/BU News Service

By Caitlin Faulds and Devyani Chhetri
BU News Service

Question 2

Massachusetts voters said no to ballot question two, resisting a statewide transition to ranked choice voting.

The ballot measure, which lost by 55% of the vote, will maintain the state’s existing voting system rather than updating it to one where candidates are ranked from most preferred to the least. 

The Yes on 2 campaign promised to give “Massachusetts voters a stronger voice when we cast our ballots” by determining winners on what they say will be more egalitarian grounds. 

The question saw bipartisan support from former Massachusetts governors Deval Patrick, who briefly ran in the Democratic presidential primaries, and Bill Weld, who challenged President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Proponents of ranked choice voting said the change would open races up to third-party candidates, diminish the influence of candidates’ presumed electability and reduce campaign spending. 

However, according to the opposition, ranked-choice voting could confuse voters, making it harder for voters whose first language is not English.

Question 1

Car owners in Massachusetts voted yes to accessing and sharing their telematics or vehicular repair data with independent automobile shops, which until now was monopolized by state companies affiliated with manufacturers. The proposed law registered 75% in its favor.

With its passing, manufacturers will now be required to create an interface where car owners are able to access data through mobile applications. 

This isn’t the proposed law’s first rodeo down the election circuit. Right to Repair was first introduced as a ballot question in 2012 and was passed by 86%, making Massachusetts the first to introduce a motor law of this kind. 

Then in 2019 with the industry evolving, a call to update the law to include wireless technology or telematics came up. Advocates for the Right to Repair said that for too long now, independent, third party enterprises were on the backfoot in the automobile market. They argued that this could expand the field and allow car owners more choices. 

Meanwhile, those who oppose the move believe that sharing data might make the market vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and technology theft.

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