Have you ever wanted to list your second-choice candidate, felt like your vote didn’t count, or wished an election was less contentious? I know I have. Riverton City is taking part in an innovative pilot project called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) this year for our city elections. RCV is an electoral system that allows you to vote for multiple candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one.
When you receive your ballot, you can list your first, second, third choice (or more) for each position. With RCV, if there are five candidates in the race, you can rank them 1-5, you can rank your top three choices or you can vote for only one, if you would like.
If one candidate wins the majority (more than 50%) of the first-choice votes, that individual wins. But if for example, your first-choice candidate got the least votes, they would be eliminated, but your vote would still count, it would move to your second-choice candidate. This continues until a candidate has the majority of votes.
I like RCV for several reasons. By ranking the candidates, we are able to get more information from the voters giving you a stronger voice. It can also save the city significant time and money (around $20,000) by eliminating the need for a primary election so only a general election is needed. It also leads to more civil elections because even if a candidate finds they are not the voter’s first choice, they want to be their second, leading to less negative campaigning.
Payson and Vineyard cities used RCV in their last municipal election and an exit survey found 82.5% of the voters liked RCV and wanted to use it again. An increasing number of groups are using RCV including the Utah Republican Party, New York City, Maine and countries including Australia and New Zealand.
Riverton’s general election for at-large Mayor and City Council members from District 3 and 4 will be on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. The city will be sending a video and other content about RCV as the election nears. If you have changes to your voter registration or need to update your address, go to vote.utah.gov. Feel free to reach out to your council member with any questions or suggestions for our city. Have a great summer!