A group offered cities money to opt in to ranked choice voting. State elections office warns accepting that is likely illegal
May 7, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2023, 4:49 pm
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
RIVERTON, Utah — It’s against state law for Utah cities or counties to take any third-party money for elections. But one group, Utah RCV, offered to cover this year’s additional costs for the cities in Salt Lake County to opt into Utah’s ranked choice voting pilot program.
Utah RCV will ‘cover the gap’
Potter was at the April meeting to present to the Riverton City Council the benefits of the alternative voting method. She was responding to a series of questions from Council member Andy Pierucci who asked her about where Utah RCV’s funding was coming from, and how much of the city’s cost they would cover.
Declining RCV pilot participation
Utah’s pilot program that allows cities to choose whether to use ranked choice voting has seen dwindling participation this year.
“There are a couple variables,” Potter said. She cited three cities in Cache County who’s pro-RCV county clerk retired. Others, she said, are believing “negative” stuff people are saying — including an anti ranked choice voting group Potter calls “very loud.”
Utah’s RCV program included 23 cities in 2021. The deadline for cities to opt into program again was May 1, only 12 cities stayed.
Those cities are Millcreek, Genola, Salt Lake City, Midvale, Payson, Vineyard, South Salt Lake, Heber, Kearns, Lehi, Woodland Hills, and Magna.
Riverton was among those who opted out.
Potter says they’re now looking at other ways they can help cities with ranked choice voting that doesn’t include giving “funds.”
The law states, “An election officer may not solicit, accept, or use any funds for an election if those funds are donated by any person other than a government entity.”
“We’re getting some legal interpretation on that.”