Throughout the last two years I have tried to make my voice heard for moderation in politics. Many times these conversations become more theoretical than actually actionable. But right now we have a chance to do something in Kaysville that is more than just theoretical talk. We have a chance to make a difference in how elections are administered in our city. If you have not heard of rank choice voting, let me explain a little bit more.

Traditional voting occurs by majority rule. For instance, in our most recent Kaysville City mayoral race we started with 3 candidates. Because you cannot get to a 50% majority by dividing 100/3, we had to have a primary run off race in August to narrow the field to two candidates.

From the Primary we eliminated Jessen and moved on to our general election in November with Kamalu and Witt on the ballot. Mayor Witt pulled ahead with over 50% of the vote during this election and became our Mayor.

Now, the question I think you might ask at this point is what is wrong with this system? The answer lies in the value we place on our vote and our desire to not have that value squandered. You have probably heard it said that a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote and maybe even a vote for the other team (depending on which direction from the middle you lean). Because of this, voters can feel hemmed into voting for more extreme versions of who they would really like to see in office because they do not want to, inadvertently, get the other guy elected. This same dilemma has driven many people from even engaging in politics all together. And from this dilemma was born the idea of rank choice voting (RCV).

With RCV your ballot would change from a pick one scenario to something akin to this:

And then the magic happens.

Isn’t that amazing?! Not only do we now solve the “wasted vote” dilemma but we also save ourselves money by cutting out the expense of a primary election. Newcomer candidates have more time (until the November election) to get their names out there, knock on doors and educate people about their goals and values. Elections can be about more than just discrediting the other guy.

So why am I writing about this now? The Utah State Legislature passed legislation that would allow cities in our state to opt into RCV. While this prospect became available last year, Kaysville was not able to opt in because our elections are administered by our county and the county was not ready to take the plunge. However, late in the session the legislature passed an amendment that would allow cities in the exact situation as ours to either have a different county that was opting in administer the RCV election or provide funding for cities to tackle it on their own. And when our City Council Member Michelle Barber found out about this she began working to put together a special council meeting to discuss the possibility. This meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 10th at 5:30 pm. If this is something that interests you, come to city hall and share you thoughts. If you cannot make it, send an email to the council members and mayor with your thoughts. And as always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you might have.

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