If ever there was a case to be made for election reform, some say you need to look no further than what just happened Tuesday night in Fall River. Mayor Jasiel Correia is facing federal fraud charges, and Tuesday night, he was recalled by voters. But on that very same ballot, he was elected mayor again, essentially succeeding himself. Pam Wilmot is with Common Cause Massachusetts and advocates for electoral reform. She spoke with WGBH All Things Considered anchor Barbara Howard. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: So first, let's talk about the ballot itself. It was a two-parter: Correia was recalled by a pretty healthy margin, with more than 60 percent of voters wanting him out. But then, on part two of that same ballot, Correia ended up winning the race for mayor, with 35 percent of the vote. There were a total of five mayoral candidates listed on that ballot, and Correia was among them. Is it possible that his name recognition alone put him over the top?

Pam Wilmot: Well it's certainly possible, that is true of many ballots. This is a good example of why ranked-choice voting is really needed in more elections.

Howard: Explain ranked-choice voting.

Wilmot: So ranked-choice voting is very simple. It's just a matter of ranking your candidates in order of choice. So the one you like best is one, then two, three, four, five, etc. If one candidate has a majority of first-place votes, then nothing is different than in the current election system. But if no one has a majority, then the candidate with the least amount of votes is eliminated, and then the people who voted for that candidate get their second choice.

Read more: Fall River Mayor Charged In Federal Indictment Recalled, And Re-elected

Howard: Well what about runoff elections? Had this been essentially a primary, the top two vote-getters might have gone up against each other in a future election. What's wrong with that?

Wilmot: Well actually, ranked-choice voting is probably even better than a traditional runoff election. A runoff election may be better than a simple plurality in a crowded field, but ranked-choice actually is even superior to that, because it means that no candidates can split the vote. So a lot of times, you'll have candidates from the same ideological perspective or maybe from the same background, and their voters will be split between them, allowing somebody that is really not preferred by a majority of people to squeak in with a small percentage of the vote.

Howard: Local elections are handled on the local level. Who has the authority to make any kinds of changes as far as electoral reform goes?

Wilmot: On a city level, it would be the city charter. And in fact, Fall River considered this process a couple of years ago and did not change it. There's also some legislation that is pending at the State House that would streamline that process for ranked-choice voting. It doesn't mean that it would automatically be adopted, but a community could do it more easily than is the current process. It’s fairly complicated to make a change. I do have to point out that a candidate winning with 30-odd percent of the vote is not unheard of in the state. This does happen fairly frequently. I think what raises eyebrows in this particular election is the two-part nature of the recall, which is inherently confusing.

Howard: You mean that it was all on one ballot. The two questions — the recall, plus voting for mayor.

Wilmot: Right.

Howard: Is this something that makes sense just at a municipal level, or do you think it would be beneficial in broader elections — in state elections, even federal elections?

Wilmot: Oh, it's great for any level of election. Any place where you have more than two candidates running, there's a real possibility of splitting the vote and having a candidate elected who does not reflect the views of the district, the municipality, or the state, or the country. And having that ability to assure that a majority wins is really important. And it's frankly one reform, the only reform I've ever seen, that will also reduce negative campaigning. What happens with ranked-choice voting is that you're competing not only for first-place votes, but also for second-place votes. So the incentive to cut down the opposition is removed.

Howard: That's Pam Wilmot of Common Cause of Massachusetts, speaking about Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia and his slim victory in yesterday's recall election, and whether reforms are needed when it comes to elections here in Massachusetts. This is WGBH’s All Things Considered.