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Ranked-choice voting is on the way to Salt Lake City

Apr 21, 2021, 4:35 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm
ranked-choice voting comes to salt lake city primary elections...
This sample ballot from FairVote.org demonstrates what a ranked-choice ballot would look like. Image: FairVote.org

SALT LAKE CITY — Ranked-choice voting will come to Salt Lake City in time for the next municipal election in November. 

Salt Lake provides biggest test of ranked-choice

Members of the Salt Lake City Council voted 6-1 to approve ranked-choice voting in November. The move eliminates a primary election before then. 

With ranked-choice voting, voters rank the candidates on the ballot in order of preference, rather than casting just one vote. A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to win; if no candidate receives that much support, the ballots go through another round of counting. The candidate with the fewest “first choice” votes becomes eliminated, and counters look at the second choice on the ballots where that candidate was chosen first. The process continues until one candidate wins a majority of the votes.  

Related: 2 small Utah cities test ranked-choice voting method

The legislature passed a law allowing cities and counties to choose ranked-choice voting in 2018, but cities had to tell the Lieutenant Governor’s office if they were planning to do so by May 9. The cities of Vineyard and Payson tried the method in 2019, with voters indicating they liked the process. Salt Lake City becomes the largest municipality to try ranked-choice voting with this move. 

Four Salt Lake City council seats will appear on the ballot for the Nov. 2, 2021 municipal election. 

As ranked-choice voting in November eliminates the need for a primary, candidates can declare their intentions later than normal. The deadline to sign-up to be on the ballot will change from June to August. 

Read more: 

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Ranked-choice voting is on the way to Salt Lake City