Ranked-Choice Voting

“At least a quarter-million votes were useless on Super Tuesday – ranked-choice voting would change that.”

-Concord Monitor 3/3/2020

For the first time this year, Utah joined 13 other states to hold primary elections on Super Tuesday. Thanks to recent laws allowing for early and mail-in voting, many Utahns expressed their preference days or weeks before Election Day. Unfortunately, multiple candidates dropped out shortly before Election Day, essentially causing many early votes to be thrown away. An easy solution would be for Utah to have used Ranked-Choice Voting like Alaska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Hawaii all do for their primaries.

So what is Ranked-Choice Voting?

In ranked-choice voting you rank all of the candidates on your ballot from first to last. If nobody gets a majority of first-choice votes then the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and results are recounted using the second choice on that candidate’s ballots. This keeps up until somebody gets more than 50%.

Ranked-Choice Voting has several major benefits:

  • No votes are wasted when candidates drop out
  • No need for costly runoff elections
  • No spoiler effect for independent or third-party candidates
  • More positive campaigns since candidates try to be the second choice of other candidates’ voters
  • Candidates with broader appeal are more successful than extreme or polarizing candidates

Why Aren’t We Using It Already?

The Utah legislature recently passed a bill allowing a few Utah cities to pilot the use of Ranked-Choice Voting for possible future implementation across the state. This is despite the fact that it’s benefits have already been shown repeatedly around the country and around the world. There’s no need to wait. Utah needed this reform on Super Tuesday and in every election to come. The time to act is now.