North Salt Lake City Council discussing ranked-choice votingApr 05, 2021 02:24PM ● By Alison Berg
NORTH SALT LAKE—The North Salt Lake City Council will decide at their next meeting whether or not they would like to use rank choice voting in the November and future elections, meaning voters would have the option to submit votes for not only their first choice but other choices ranked after the first.
Curtis Koch, Davis County clerk/auditor, told members of the city council that implementing rank choice voting would save the city money by eliminating a primary election and only holding the general.
“This also adds a new level of complexity to administration and how voters interact with a ballot,” Koch told the council. “If there was consistency and accurate administration by set methods and audits, I would support ranked-choice voting.”
Koch also said the style of voting, which is relatively uncommon in municipalities in the United States, is part of Davis County’s tradition of “being innovative.”
“Davis County is not afraid of being innovative,” Koch told the council members.
In 2014, Davis County implemented a vote by mail process, but in the 2015 election, Koch realized that most residents were not voting by mail, which helped him figure out how to change the process to make it less confusing for residents wanting to vote.
Some council members said they were supportive of implementing ranked-choice voting because of its cost efficiency and ability to eliminate unnecessary drama in primary elections.
“With two seats open for city council in the upcoming election, many people may consider only voting for one candidate to help their preferred candidate win,” said Council member Ryan Mumford.
To Mumford’s point, Council member Brian Horrocks said people would still be able to vote for only one candidate with ranked-choice voting, but that the important distinction is residents have the ability to vote for more than one if they choose.
“Residents could just vote for one candidate, but if that candidate was the last place, then you would no longer have a vote in that election,” Mumford said back to Horrocks’ point. “Gamesmanship is wrong and a ranked choice system gives multiple candidates a chance.”
However, Mumford said ranked-choice voting could potentially also involve gamesmanship, which he attributed to people having the option to vote for more than one candidate, thus encouraging more positivity and civility in local elections. Mumford also referenced the 2020 presidential election and said many people did not vote for the candidate they wanted, but rather the candidate they disliked least.