Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Our broadcast signal serving the St. George area (KUER 90.9) is operating on low power. Our broadcast signal serving Emery County area (88.3) is off the air. More information.
Politics & Government

Is ranked-choice voting too complicated? Utah lawmakers may let cities experiment with approval voting, too

An illustration of several hands putting paper ballots into the election box.
Jenny On The Moon
/
iStockphoto
“We don't want to be put in a position where we are explaining why this candidate dropped out when it looked like they were ahead,” Davis County Clerk/Auditor Curtis Koch said about ranked-choice voting. “That's not a clean, easy order process to explain to voters.”

Utah state lawmakers may add approval voting to a pilot program for municipal elections. Right now, cities are only allowed to try out ranked-choice voting — which lets voters choose candidates in order of preference. If no one gets a majority of votes, the person with the fewest is eliminated. The process continues until there’s a winner.

With approval voting, people mark which candidates they’d be OK with being elected. The candidate that receives the most votes wins.

Davis County Clerk/Auditor Curtis Koch said that method is a lot simpler and that’s particularly important in a time when there’s so much skepticism about election security.

“We don't want to be put in a position where we are explaining why this candidate dropped out when it looked like they were ahead,” Koch said about ranked-choice voting. “That's not a clean, easy order process to explain to voters.”

But lawmakers are still hesitant to move forward with approval voting before they know how ranked-choice voting plays out this year. Twenty-three cities have signed up to try it.

A state legislative committee has been discussing the issue for months now.

“Any process that you put out there — you've always got to be evaluating whether or not it has trust and confidence, what's the experience of the voter, how they feel about it?” said Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, who’s on the committee.

Millner said they could have time to review that information by the start of the General Session in January.

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.