Six Utah cities have signed on to pilot ranked choice voting in 2019:
- Cottonwood Heights
- West Jordan.
What is Ranked Choice Voting?
These cities join a larger movement for voting reform that represents the voice of the people. With ranked choice voting, a voter can rank the candidates (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc).
If no candidate receives a majority (over 50%) of the votes, ranked choice voting comes into play. In the first round, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. So if a voter’s 1st choice has too few votes and is eliminated, the second choice comes into play. That way every voter’s choice is counted until the last round. As candidates are eliminated, a voter’s next choice is included in the tally for the next round.
Key benefits of ranked choice voting include greater civility, no more spoilers, and reduced costs.
Ever since Maine adopted ranked choice voting, there has been an increased interest in ranked choice voting. The appeal of ranked choice voting is largely due to its increased accountability of candidates. When voters can rank their choices candidates need to appeal to voters for second and third choice votes. Attacking an opponent could have a devastating effect on potential votes. Ranked choice voting encourages increased civility between opponents. In addition, candidates may focus more on the issues and less on their opponents.
No More “Spoilers”
Ranked choice voting also eliminates the “spoiler effect” which encourages more people to run for elections. It is discouraging to consider running for an office knowing that your votes may skew the final election results. Ranked choice voting can increase the number of qualified candidates running for office leading to a more diverse pool of candidates.
Ranked choice voting can also save counties money eliminating the need for costly runoff elections which frequently end up with lower voter turnout.