By Mark Bauer
Utah is known for its scenic landscapes with the likes of Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks calling it home. It’s less known for its political landscape. A new ranked choice voting ballot initiative in the state would ‘upend’ all that.
Last week a group submitted a ballot initiative to use ranked choice voting in future election. Among the proposals would be doing away with partisan primaries. Instead, voters would have an opportunity to whittle down candidates to 5 for the general election ballot in November, irrespective of political party.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, candidates in three high-profile Utah primary elections in 2020 won with less than 50% of the vote.
Spencer Cox emerged from a five-person field to win the Republican nomination for governor with just over 36% of the vote. Blake Moore captured the GOP nomination for the 1st Congressional District over three other candidates with 31%. Burgess Owens became the Republican nominee in the 4th District, defeating three rivals with 43.5%. All three went on to win the November election.
Ranked choice voting, of course, seeks to make sure elected candidates have majority support from voters. Ultimately, the proposed rule changes would do a lot to expand democracy for Utahans, including reducing the number of signatures potential candidates are required to get to appear on the ballot in the first place.
Mark Bauer is a producer, entrepreneur, day trader and former Independent candidate for Congress in Texas. Previously he spent 10 years as a legal journalist covering the legal market in Texas and regulatory issues in Washington DC. Mark’s primary interests involve using content and storytelling to help different groups of people better understand one another.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Rank the Vote, its members, supporters, funders, or affiliates.