| Ben Lasseter | KPCW |
UTAH — In 2021, Heber City opted to use ranked choice voting, and the council voted unanimously on Tuesday to do so again.
Traditionally, the city would hold a primary election and let voters choose three total candidates for three seats that are up for new terms. Instead, Heber voters will once again rank as many candidates as they wish to support in order of preference.
I think ranked choice voting is perfect for the city-level government.
Councilwoman Rachel Kahler said she voted against ranked choice voting in 2021 but has since changed her mind.
“I do think ranked choice voting allows for a shorter election,” she said. “It allows for people to campaign when people are paying attention, instead of trying to campaign for a primary and then for the general, and for that reason, I’m in favor of it.”
Other council members said it works for small areas such as Heber City.
In a recent hearing at the State Capitol, Representative Katy Hall of Davis and Weber counties proposed to end the statewide ranked choice voting option, which began in 2018 under Governor Gary Herbert. That bill, H.B. 171, has been inactive since the House Government Operations Committee voted unanimously to put it on hold in early February.
Councilman Scott Phillips said he attended the hearing, and her arguments against the voting method didn’t convince him.
“The representative that brought it forward has never had experience with ranked choice voting personally,” he said. “She’s just listening to a few of the people in her district — actually, I don’t even think they were from her district, a neighboring district. I think ranked choice voting is perfect for the city-level government, city council, mayor. We’re nonpartisan, we don’t have parties. We don’t want to have a primary — like, you know, people don’t want us campaigning all year long for a seat in the November election, and ranked choice voting helps us to avoid that.”