Vineyard, Payson Residents To Vote In Utah’s First Ranked Choice Elections

Nov 5, 2019, 3:32 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2019, 2:57 pm
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images...
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

VINEYARD, Utah — City council elections in Vineyard and Payson will feature Utah’s first-ever ranked choice voting elections, according to officials with the Utah County Elections Division.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to administer Utah’s first ranked choice voting election,” said Utah County Clerk and Auditor Amanda Gardner. “Ranked choice voting holds great promise as a means to improve elections and reduce government spending on elections.”

The ranked choice system allows voters to rank all candidates on the ballot. If a single candidate earns more than half of the vote based on first-choice ballots, that candidate wins.

If no candidate reaches that threshold, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Voters who listed the now-eliminated candidate as their first choice then have their ballots cast for their second choice.

The process continues until one candidate has earned half of the remaining votes; if only two candidates remain, an “instant runoff” vote allows for the top two candidates to be compared head-to-head.

A voter’s backup rankings only count if that voter’s first choice has been either defeated or elected, according to the Utah County Elections Division.

Officials said Vineyard and Payson residents voted to adopt ranked choice voting after Gov. Gary Herbert signed a 2018 bill allowing cities to pilot the system for elections.

Vineyard residents are electing two city council members from six candidates and Payson residents are electing three members from five candidates.

For these elections, officials said once the initial winner is decided, he or she will be skipped over and ballots cast for the initial winner will be counted for the candidate ranked second.

In Payson, the first two winners will be skipped over if a third ranked choice tally is needed.

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Vineyard, Payson Residents To Vote In Utah’s First Ranked Choice Elections