Posted by Austin Plier on March 03, 2017
On Friday, March 3rd, 2017, the Utah House voted 59-12 to pass HB 349, a bill that would require the use of ranked choice voting for nearly all Utah elections. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D) introduced the bill, however it passed out of committee last week with Republican support in an 8-1 vote, and passed the House today with nearly 75% of House Republicans voting in support, including House Majority Leader Brad Wilson and House Majority Whip Francis Gibson.
While it is unclear whether the bill will get a vote in the state Senate before Utah's legislative session comes to a close this year, the favorable vote is a significant development for ranked choice voting at the state level as a reform that is truly bipartisan in nature. Strong Republican support for the bill in Utah is an early indication that support for ranked choice voting at the state level is rapidly growing in the wake of Maine voters' adoption of it via a ballot measure in November of 2016.
It is also an indication that legislative action is a viable path forward for ranked choice voting, which has typically been advanced via ballot measures. So far in 2017, 18 states have introduced ranked choice voting legislation. Twelve bills in 11 states have Republican sponsors or co-sponsors, while 20 bills in 13 states have Democratic sponsors of co-sponsors.