Park City Council explores instant-runoff elections

PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Council is exploring the possibility of shifting municipal elections to instant-runoff, also known as ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Voting with RCV involves voters numerically ranking candidates in order of preference rather than selecting one choice.

In 2018, the Utah State Legislature passed HB 35, establishing a ranked choice vote pilot program through January 1, 2026. As a result, communities can opt-in during a municipal election cycle if they desire RCV.

Park City’s Recorder, Michelle Kellogg, said the Council discussed RCV in January and wanted to get public feedback on this change in voting style.

“In order to educate the public, we have a webpage dedicated to RCV information, a mock election ballot (Top 3 Favorite Park City Neighborhoods), and a survey for folks to take letting us know their opinions on the process,” Kellog said.

She added there will be another Council discussion this summer after the feedback results have been gathered.

Instant-runoff voting ensures that the winning candidate has majority support by requiring candidates to receive more than 50% of the vote. In traditional voting systems, a candidate can win with less than a majority if they have the most votes but not necessarily the support of most voters.

Critics argue that RCV is complex for voters to understand, potentially leading to confusion and a higher likelihood of errors in the voting process.

The town’s website includes a list of pros and cons, a mock election ballot, and a survey for folks to take and voice their opinions on the process.

In 2023, 12 Utah cities participated in RCV: Genola, Heber City, Lehi, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Millcreek, Payson, South Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Vineyard, and Woodland Hills.


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