ELECTIONS

Several Utah cities to use ranked choice voting in upcoming election

Sep 12, 2023, 3:15 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2023, 12:11 pm

Example of ranked choice voting ballot. Twelve cities across Utah will participate in ranked choice...

FILE: This sample ballot from FairVote.org demonstrates what a ranked-choice ballot would look like. (FairVote.org)

(FairVote.org)

SALT LAKE CITY — Voters in Salt Lake, Utah, and Wasatch Counties will have a different-looking ballot when it comes time to vote in the special, general and municipal elections.

That’s when many cities will begin using ranked choice voting

“Instead of just picking your top candidate for a contest,” said Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman, “you’ll actually get to rank the candidates in the order that you prefer them.”

Those who support ranked choice voting say it fosters voters who are more engaged and allows for a robust debate of the issues voters care about.

Chapman said there’s another benefit, too.

“Instead of saying, ‘I’m so much better than everybody else,’ you’ll hear some [candidates] saying, ‘if you like candidate B, vote for me for your second place.'”

Chapman said the process also makes for a more moderate candidate because they’re trying to appeal to many more people.

Chapman said that ranked choice voting offers cost savings, too, because it allows for just one election rather than needing both a primary and general election. On the other hand, cities that use ranked choice voting do have an extra cost from new software.

How ranked choice voting works

Depending on the number of candidates, voters will rank their first, second, third, choices and so on. Anybody that gets over 50% during the first round is the winner. If nobody receives 50%, the candidate in last place is eliminated and their supporters are moved to their backup choice.

This is repeated until one candidate receives 50% of the vote.

More information about ranked choice voting in Utah in 2023:

Simone Seikaly contributed.

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Several Utah cities to use ranked choice voting in upcoming election