Eileen Ryan campaigns for ranked-choice voting in costume Saturday in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Credit: Michael Dwyer / AP

Massachusetts voters have rejected a referendum that would have introduced ranked-choice voting to the Bay State.

Backers of Question Two conceded defeat Tuesday after a disappointing showing at the polls. The question failed 55 percent to 45 percent, according to The New York Times.

The system would have given voters the option of ranking candidates in order of their preference: one for their top choice, two for their second choice and so on.

If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. Voters who ranked the eliminated candidate as their first choice would have their votes counted instead for their second choice. The process repeats until one candidate receives a majority of the vote and wins.

In 2016, Maine voters backed a referendum to use the voting system for statewide races. After court challenges, it is used in primary races and in general elections for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and president.