| Steven Hill | LA Progressive |

Only the most cynical pundits and naysayers could fail to be impressed by ranked choice voting’s continual march forward. Political reform is a tough business, but not only has RCV been adopted in many dozens of cities and states in recent years, but the range of places and players adopting it is also impressive, from Republicans in Virginia and Utah to Democrats in New York City, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. I want to shine a spotlight on the impressive story playing out in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The impact was immediate.

The city is much more racially diverse than it used to be. Today it is about 65% white (the same as Portland, Oregon), 20% Latino, 5% Asian, 3% Black, and 8% people of two or more races. Following this racial transformation, there was a political resurrection in this city of 200,000 people. In 2019, Salt Lake City elected its first ever person of color, a Latina, to its city council. Then, in 2021, Salt Lake City switched its city council elections to using ranked choice voting. The impact was immediate.

Councilwoman Victoria Petro-Eschler, who represents the city’s racially diverse west side, said, “This diversity is important because of what it means for how work gets done in our city.” City councilmember Alejandro Puy is a Latino immigrant, and he said the city is “about the working-class people.”

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