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Massachusetts Voters Approve Ballot Question 1 Expanding ‘Right To Repair’ Law

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Massachusetts voters approved ballot Question 1, which will expand the state’s “Right to Repair” law by giving car owners and independent auto shops greater access to data related to vehicle maintenance and repair.

The Associated Press called the race just before 11 p.m. with about 75-percent of voters approving it.

Car repair shops and auto parts suppliers said the measure would guarantee car owners access to the repair information needed to bring their cars to auto shops as vehicles become more computerized.

Automakers opposed the question, calling it a data grab by third parties who want to gather personal vehicle information.

Tommy Hickey, the Director of the coalition, said Yes on Question 1 was outspent by millions, but still was victorious.

“The thousands of ‘Yes on 1’ signs in front of small businesses around the state tell the story -automakers were trying to corner the market on car repairs, but the voters stopped them,” Hickey told supporters.

“The people have spoken—by a huge margin—in favor of immediately updating right to repair so it applies to today’s high-tech cars and trucks.”

Question 1 was one of two ballot initiatives, along with Question 2 which asks voters if they support ranked choice voting. Question 2 was rejected.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Massachusetts voters approved ballot Question 1, which will expand the state’s “Right to Repair” law.

Massachusetts votes ‘yes’ on Question 1 ballot measure, ‘no’ on 2 as campaign concedes

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Massachusetts voters agree they have a “Right-to-Repair” — overwhelmingly voting to approve ballot Question 1, but rejected an appeal for ranked-choice voting in Tuesday’s election.

The measure’s success means car owners will be able to access and share repair data housed in their car’s telematics’ systems that were previously only accessible by automakers.

“The people have spoken — by a huge margin — in favor of immediately updating right to repair so it applies to today’s high-tech cars and trucks,” said Tommy Hickey, director of the Right to Repair Coalition, a group of 1,600 independent repair shops.

The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, which represents 16 automakers and opposed the ballot measure, conceded on Tuesday.

“As we have said from the beginning, the right to repair and the ability of local repair shops to access vehicle repair information are already enshrined in Massachusetts law,” the group said in a statement. “Today’s vote will do nothing to enhance that right — it will only grant real time, two-way access to your vehicle and increase risk.”

Opponents of ballot Question 1 claimed making the data accessible to independent auto shops could make the public less safe by expanding the availability of car-repair data. The group claimed that data collected through telematics is not necessary to repair cars because it’s used for other things, such as turn-by-turn navigation and emergency crash notification.

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Opponents warned a “yes on 1” vote would give hackers the ability to upload code to vehicles and could lead to malware and ransomware being uploaded to cars — something Hickey dismissed as a “scare tactic.”

The race was defined by historic spending where Yes on 1 was outspent by millions by deep-pocketed automakers.

Question 2, which would have implemented a ranked-choice, or “instant runoff” voting process for state and congressional elections in Massachusetts failed when the “Yes on 2” campaign conceded just after midnight on Tuesday.

“We came up short in this election and we are obviously deeply disappointed,” said Yes on 2 campaign organizer Cara Brown McCormick. “But that’s certainly no reflection of the hard work of the thousands of dedicated volunteers, staff and surrogates of this campaign.”

Opponents of the measure, which include the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, the State Republican Party and Gov. Charlie Baker — said the system is too “confusing.”

“The voters have spoken clearly on Ranked Choice Voting and while there can be some very limited benefits to the voting system, ultimately a majority of voters voted against it because its costs far outweigh its very limited benefits,” Paul Craney of Mass Fiscal Alliance said in a statement.

The system — which has been adopted by the state of Maine and a handful of cities nationwide — would have enabled voters to rank as many candidates as they want in order of preference. Vote talliers first look at all of the first-place votes, and, if someone has a majority, the election stops there and that person wins, as is the case right now.

If no candidate wins more than 50%, the bottom vote-getter is eliminated, and all of the ballots that went to them are allocated to voters’ second-place choices. If no one still above 50%, the process repeats, eliminating one candidate per round until there are only two candidates left, at which point the one with the most votes wins.

Massachusetts voters agree they have a "Right-to-Repair" — overwhelmingly voting to approve ballot Question 1, the coalition supporting the measure said while declaring early victory on Election night. ]]>