The willingness of Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen to offer ranked choice voting to interested cities in this county is gratifying — even exhilarating! — to those who have promoted this election reform for more than three years. We are all grateful for Swensen’s leadership in getting Utah to use mail-in voting several years ahead of the rest of the country; let’s hope ranked choice voting will be another jewel in her crown.
But we cannot rest. Many city officials do not know that our clerk is now willing to administer ranked choice voting. It’s up to “we the people” to let them know and encourage them to try it out. Ranked choice voting increases voter turnout, forces candidates to run more civil campaigns for broader audiences and ensures that every ballot cast counts. It saves a lot of money by avoiding primaries and run-off elections. And there is even state funding to help educate voters and facilitate its use.
We have great confidence in Swensen. When she says she’ll do something, she does it — and with a high degree of competence. It is crucial that this fall’s election be similarly impeccable. There are challenges, like educating the voters, training election staff and volunteers, reformatting ballots, etc. But Swensen can do it!
I urge Salt Lake County voters to impress upon their city councils that they should commit to ranked choice voting by May 10, the deadline for saying “yes” to state and county officials. Then we can roll up our sleeves to make ranked choice voting a success in Salt Lake.
Nancy Alice McHugh
Salt Lake City