Fans of Ranked Voting See an Opportunity in Massachusetts

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In a concession statement Monday, Mr. Koh said: “Out of 89,000 votes, it looks like we fell short by about 0.1%. There’s no use in getting upset about the close margin — we can’t afford to. It’s time for us to unite behind Lori Trahan to be sure this seat stays Democratic.”

Ms. Trahan, 44, grew up in Lowell and attended Georgetown University in Washington on a volleyball scholarship. She worked for former Representative Marty Meehan, eventually becoming his chief of staff. More recently, she has worked as a business consultant, helping companies foster the next generation of leaders.

In November, she will face Rick Green, a Republican, who is a businessman, and Michael P. Mullen, an unaffiliated candidate, who works in information technology.

Some advocacy groups hope the concrete example of this crowded and chaotic primary, in which candidates had difficulty distinguishing themselves, will spur the legislature to consider changing the voting system.

“If someone wins with 22 percent of the vote, that means 78 percent of voters did not choose that person, and that on its face is not democracy,” said Adam Friedman, executive director of Voter Choice Massachusetts, which advocates for ranked choice voting

“In the next 12 months, we want to ensure every member of the state legislature understands ranked choice voting, how it works, its benefits and how it can revitalize democracy and give voters more choice.”

But persuading lawmakers to go along could be a hard slog. Earlier attempts fizzled, as did an effort to gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot as a voter referendum.

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