This week, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed into effect House Bill 0075—expanding Utah’s ranked choice voting pilot project in municipal elections across the state. This bill, sponsored by veteran Republican lawmaker Jeffrey Stenquist, updates Utah’s RCV pilot program, making it easier for municipalities to opt into the pilot program, and allowing towns using RCV to collaborate with each other to make the transition to RCV elections more efficient and cost-effective. Cities have until May 10th to sign up for the pilot program this year, which will be used to conduct RCV elections in participating municipalities in Utah’s August 10th municipal primary elections.
This comes after the widespread success of RCV in pilot cities Payson and Vineyard’s 2019 municipal elections, with Vineyard City Recorder Pamela Spencer stating that the switch to RCV was “very successful,” and that Vineyard city residents reported an 83% approval rating for the RCV election. Several Utah cities are expected to join the pilot program after these positive results, with notable municipalities Salt Lake City, Riverton, and Cottonwood Heights considering joining. In addition to this, there have been calls to expand ranked choice voting statewide in Utah, with prominent election official Amelia Powers Gardner arguing that a switch to RCV would save money, decrease candidate infighting, and better serve the citizens of Utah.
House Bill 0075 will greatly increase the amount of voters participating in RCV elections across the state, cementing Utah’s position as a leader in electoral politics and promising increased voter equity. Municipal elections in Payson and Vineyard City show that voters had high levels of engagement with ranked choice voting in their first use in 2019, with 71.2% of voters in Payson and 58.6% of Vineyard voters ranking all candidates on their ballots. To learn more about the resounding success of the 2019 RCV elections, visit FairVote’s analysis of the results here.
Additionally, to keep up with the flurry of exciting electoral reform bills currently progressing through state legislatures around the country, visit FairVote’s state legislation tracker. RCV legislation has been introduced in 29 states so far this legislative session, including many bills with bipartisan support.