1.9 min readBy Published On: July 22nd, 2021Categories: Features0 Comments on Election Roundup: Ballot Positioning Drawing

Hello, Southie & Dot! If you are following Boston’s Election Season super closely, you will know that tomorrow is a big day for our candidates. Why? Because tomorrow, July 23rd, is when the City of Boston holds its Ballot Positioning Drawing. I swear, it’s a real thing & it’s important!

In the mid 20-teens an economist from Texas, Darren Grant, completed a study and he found that the order of names on the ballot for lower-profile, i.e. non-presidential, races is very important. “Going from last to first on the ballot raises a candidate’s vote share by 10 percentage points meaning how many voters are simply voting for the first name on the ballot.”

Here in Boston we have many, many candidates vying for not only mayor but for City Council seats in September’s Preliminary Election. Candidates with last names beginning with A or B or even C would have a HUGE advantage if they appeared on the ballot in Alphabetical order. So Boston runs a lottery using a system that would not look out of place in your Nan’s bingo hall!  Names go in for each race and they randomly get picked, one at a time. That’ll be the order in which they will appear on your ballot on September 14th. Not in alphabetical order, not who signed up to run first, not who has the most endorsements, just a random bit of luck.

If you think the lottery sounds interesting – and c’mon who wouldn’t? – you can watch it live! Seriously! It’s going to be shown on Comcast 24, RCN 13, Verizon 962, or you can watch it online via boston.gov/elections (there is also the opportunity to be there in person; just go to the Iannella Chamber on the 5th floor of City Hall). The lottery starts at noon.

Don’t forget to register to vote so you can vote in September. As of right now, you only have until 8 pm on August 25th to register for the September 14th election. The Preliminary Election will narrow down the field of candidates and will decide who will be on the final ballot in November. It’s important stuff!  Register online here! 

Leave A Comment