As the Utah legislative session gets underway, one of the largest discussions centers around alternative voting. Ranked Choice Voting has been a hot topic ever since a pilot program was introduced in 2018. However, Ranked Choice Voting is the only method we’ve tried. If we really seek to improve elections in Utah, we should make sure we try another top alternative as well, Approval Voting.
Approval Voting is an alternative voting method that gives voters the freedom to choose all of the candidates they like rather than being forced to pick just one. Like RCV, it allows you to express your vote for your favorite candidate and a more consensus candidate, but unlike RCV it guarantees the absence of vote splitting which causes a candidate you dislike to be elected. It is also a much simpler change than RCV, making it easier to fill out, count, and report results. Additionally, it works with standard election equipment without any expensive changes needed. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it consistently elects the most representative candidates by allowing people to vote for all of the candidates they support.
Luckily there is a bill being introduced, HB174, that would add Approval Voting to the current pilot program and allow the state the chance to pick the best possible method. As someone who is deeply invested in seeing Utah choose the best system possible, I strongly urge my representative, Rep. Paul Ray, and the rest of the legislature to give Utahns the chance to see how other methods work and only then choose the best one.