It’s an age-old question: If you vote early for a candidate who drops out before election day, does your vote still count? It depends on the election system you use.
In American jurisdictions that use plurality voting, your vote would effectively be thrown away, not counting for anyone who remains in the race. That problem can be enormous in some contests: In last year’s Democratic presidential primaries, over 3 million people voted for candidates who dropped out before their state’s primary day. 8% of the total votes were wasted that way.
Moab, Utah shows us a better way forward. Along with 22 other cities, Moab chose to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) this year through a program authorized by the state legislature. Utah is an entirely vote-by-mail state, and two Moab candidates (one for mayor and one for city council) dropped out after the ballots were printed. Thanks to RCV, anyone who voted for those candidates will still see their vote count for whoever they ranked next on their ballot.
Visit Utah Ranked Choice Voting to learn more about the state’s history with RCV.
Image from srkcalifano on Pixabay