Local election leaders tout Ranked Choice Voting ahead of so-called ‘No Primary Day’

Aug 6, 2021, 6:16 PM
Some elected leaders are touting Tuesday as No Primary Day.

SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah election leaders have dubbed Tuesday as “No Primary Day” because 23 cities have opted to do ranked choice voting elections in November’s general election instead of holding a primary.

Benefits to alternative voting

At a virtual press conference Friday, the leaders argued there are several benefits to the alternative voting method.

“From the county administration perspective we’re not administering that election then in the summer, we’re only focused on the fall,” said Utah County Clerk Josh Daniels. “From a voter perspective, I think most voters are familiar with an election in November.”

He also said he believes it plays into the way voters think.

“They don’t think about it  as good versus evil, or A versus B. I think they try to compare the candidates and say, you know of all these non-partisan candidates for City Council, this one is my favorite this one is my least favorite, this one is somewhere in between.” Daniels said.

Many cities will not have a primary

These 23 cities have will have no primary Tuesday: South Salt Lake, Magna, Bluffdale, Draper, Lehi, Payson, Riverton, Springville, Vineyard, Goshen, Newton, Woodland Hills, Genola, Sandy, Nibley City, Millcreek, Moab, River Heights City, Cottonwood Heights, Elk Ridge, Salt Lake City, Midvale, and Heber City.

There are no cities in Davis or Weber County doing ranked choice voting.

A big concern

Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch told KSL Newsradio, North Ogden’s City Council approached him for advice on what to do.

“The biggest concern that I have is voter confidence,” Hatch said.

He explained that voters may find the process of voting simple enough. Tabulating the votes gets a bit more complicated.

“The thought of me as a clerk, as and election administrator going into the live ballot files and altering votes — moving one vote from one candidate to another — that makes me very nervous,” he said.  “I want everything to be done above board, and visible, and in a certified manner that the voters can have confidence in, and that they [voters] can understand.” 

Hatch said the state has the ability to tabulate ranked choice voting. However, the hard part comes when there are multi-winner races. For example many City Council races will have more than one seat to be filled. The state’s certified election tabulation system does not handle the multi-winner races. Hatch said that’s when you have to export the votes, prep them, and get them into a separate tabulator.

“There’s a manual transfer of file and a manual manipulation that exposes that transmission to risk that in my opinion is above the risk threshold that I would feel comfortable.” Hatch said.

Trusting the tabulators

Hatch said he certainly trusts the tabulators. But as an election official, however,  he doesn’t want to be able to have access to any election results file.

“We want to be protected, and prevented from being able to manipulate anything after the election,” Hatch said.

You can check your local county clerk’s website to find out whether your city has a primary election Tuesday.

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
23 hours ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
23 hours ago
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill ...
Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona, CNN

George Santos tells House Republicans he wants off of his committees until issues are resolved

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told CNN that it was Santos' decision that he made on his own to "abstain" from the committees.
23 hours ago
Nicole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, wipes away a tear during a press conference for SB117, a bi...
SAM METZ, The Associated Press

Petito family lobbies for ‘lethality assessment’ law in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — When officers pulled over a van for speeding outside of Arches National Park in August 2021, they found a visibly distraught young couple in an emotional fight. Gabby Petito, 22, and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, were driving across the United States, and upon observing the couple, police officers in […]
23 hours ago
education legislation...
Mark Jones

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in classrooms

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in Utah classrooms.
2 days ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Local election leaders tout Ranked Choice Voting ahead of so-called ‘No Primary Day’