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West Jordan Journal

West Jordan City contemplates ranked-choice voting

Oct 04, 2022 12:18PM ● By Erin Dixon

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Preparations for the 2023 city elections have begun.

A few years ago the Utah State Legislature launched a pilot program for cities to test Ranked-Choice Voting. Every city is required to decide by April of every voting year whether they will use RCV.

In late August, the West Jordan City Council debated whether to use the new voting system in next year's election.

“Right now, a final decision hasn’t been made for future elections in West Jordan regarding Ranked-Choice Voting,” Marie Magers, Public Information Manager, said.  “It was presented to Council during a work session by our city recorder to give them an idea of a timeline if they choose to go in that direction, which wouldn’t be until the next municipal election. RCV is a decision made by the legislative body and would not be on the ballot.”

In her presentation, Tangee Sloan, West Jordan City Recorder, said, “West Jordan has opted out of RCV in 2019 and 2021. If we opt in [next year], I would like to start doing some voter education.”

Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Millcreek, Riverton, Salt Lake City, Sandy and South Salt Lake had RCV for their 2021 elections.

Sloan was told by some of these cities that “cost was underestimated,” “they had a lot of voter confusion,” and Sandy had “4,000 exhausted ballots.” (An exhausted ballot means they did not rank all the candidates on the ballot, they only voted for a few specific candidates.)

She said Draper had some positive experiences with the voting method. “They had shorter campaign time, no primary election and some residents loved it.”

If the City Council decides to use RCV, the City Recorder, Sloan, will be in charge of public education. Some of the ideas are: updates to the city website, flyers at events, host town halls and seminars and post on social media.

The Utah Ranked-Choice Voting site outlines the basic process: “Instead of choosing ONE candidate, ranked choice voting allows voters to rank all candidates according to their preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). In each round of ranked choice voting, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. When a voter's number one choice is eliminated, their second choice is included in the count for the second round. This process continues until the final round.”