Originally published in The Salt Lake Tribune | Nov. 2, 2021
It won’t be smooth sailing for ranked choice supporters next year. Some lawmakers would very much like to repeal the pilot program. Former Rep. Steve Christiansen was working on legislation to eliminate the ranked choice voting and vote-by-mail in Utah.
Others would like to shift to a method called “approval voting”, where voters cast a ballot for more than one candidate. Instead of multiple rounds of voting, there’s only one tabulation, and the candidate with the most votes wins.
Ammon Gruwell of Utah Approves, the organization behind the push for approval voting, says that method is cheaper to implement and easier to run.
“Since voting is no longer an either-or proposition, candidates are motivated to appeal to the broadest possible electorate, resulting in more positive campaigning. Approval voting allows voters to be more expressive and reduces the spoiler effect so that people can vote their conscience instead of always being forced to support the lesser of two evils,” Gruwell says.
He said a bill to add approval voting to the ranked choice voting pilot program will be heard in the 2022 session.