Two Republican legislators in Utah plan to introduce a bill that would implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in all of the state’s publicly-funded primaries. If passed, the law would take effect in May 2021.
The bill’s sponsor in the Utah House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Winder (R-District 30), tweeted that RCV encourages civil campaigns and makes voters’ second and third choices matter.
Proud to work with @curtbramble to sponsor a bill paving the way for Ranked Choice Voting in all future primary elections! #RCV continues to prove valuable as a way to encourage civil races, allowing voters’ second & third choices to matter. https://t.co/e4SsPxWDZZ #utpol #utleg— Mike Winder (@mike_winder) July 6, 2020
Sen. Curt Bramble (R-District 16), the bill's Senate sponsor, said elections must have a mechanism that chooses the candidate with the most support. RCV is a less expensive way to achieve this result than runoff elections because voters only have to go to the polls once.
The steady expansion of RCV in Utah, first through local options legislation and then through use at state party conventions, provides strong evidence that RCV is a bipartisan reform. Red, blue, and purple jurisdictions have all taken steps towards making democracy fairer by letting voters rank candidates.
This news comes at an opportune moment for election reformers, as the state’s hard-fought Republican gubernatorial primary was won with just 36% of the vote. RCV would prevent races with split votes like this in the future by choosing nominees with majority support from the electorate.