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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Boston Joins National Ranked-Choice Voting Movement

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Monday, August 28, 2023   

The push for ranked-choice voting is gaining momentum in cities across the country, including Boston - where organizers say it will help increase voter turnout in municipal elections.

The system, which allows voters to pick multiple candidates in a race, was rejected in a 2020 statewide ballot - even though it was supported by a majority of Boston voters.

Ranked Choice Boston Executive Director Ed Shoemaker said the system is good for democracy.

"Now you don't have to vote with your head, right?" said Shoemaker. "You can vote with your heart, in a way that it really expresses how you feel, and what type of leader you want to reflect and lead your community."

Shoemaker said organizers have built a strong coalition of community groups and lawmakers behind the effort, but opponents of ranked-choice voting say it's too confusing for voters and can often delay election results.

Local elections tend to have low voter turnout, but Shoemaker said ranked-choice voting would change the idea that votes are "wasted" or that entrenched incumbent candidates can't be beat.

He said it would also increase diversity among candidates and show younger voters that their voices matter.

"This encourages everybody to run," said Shoemaker, "because if people vote for you, if people support you, you're going to win."

Shoemaker said he's optimistic his coalition will be successful based on local support.

At least one Boston City Council member must first sponsor a ranked-choice voting measure, which would then require approval from Mayor Michelle Wu before a home-rule petition is submitted to the state legislature.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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