BOSTON – Supporters of ranked choice voting plan to file an initiative petition by next week to put the voting reform on the 2020 ballot in case they are unable to advance it through the Legislature before then, the News Service has learned.

"While we will continue advocating for the successful passage of two ranked choice voting bills before the Legislature this session, we are finalizing language to submit to the Attorney General as the first step toward getting RCV before the voters on the 2020 ballot," Emily Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Voter Choice Massachusetts, said in a statement in response to a News Service inquiry.

Under the proposed voting reform, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If one candidate receives 50 percent of the first-choice votes cast, the candidate is declared the winner. If not, an instant runoff occurs in which the candidate who received the least number of votes in the prior round is eliminated and all the ballots are recounted based on voters' highest-ranked remaining candidate. The process is repeated until one candidate receives at least 50 percent of the total.

More than 300 people, including Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Andres Vargas, attended a ranked choice voting reform advocacy day this month and Fitzmaurice said "we're focused on continuing to build upon the tremendous momentum we're seeing – both inside the State House and across the Commonwealth."

"Ranked Choice Voting is an important step to re-energize and empower voters at this critical time in our democracy by strengthening our voice at the ballot box and ensuring elected leaders are supported by a majority of voters," she said.

Supporters of potential 2020 ballot questions have until Wednesday, Aug. 7, to submit proposed language and 10 signatures to the attorney general's office.

Voter Choice Massachusetts recently named Mac D'Alessandro as its executive director and tapped board members Evan Falchuk as chair and Jim Henderson as vice chair.

D'Alessandro has run field programs for candidates from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, and since 2012 has been a principal at national consulting firm Democracy Partners. Falchuk, the CEO of VillagePlan Inc., is a former independent candidate for governor. Henderson is a former secretary of state candidate and has worked as VMCA's treasurer since it was founded in 2016.