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Letter: Cities in Salt Lake County can now embrace ranked choice voting — let’s make sure the message is heard

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Voters at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

The willingness of Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen to offer ranked choice voting (RCV) to interested cities in this county is gratifying--even exhilarating! — to those who have promoted this election reform for more than 3 yrs. (McNairy, 3/27/21) 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 RCV 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 RCV, or what that will mean. It’s up to “we the people” to let them know and encourage them to try it out. RCV increases voter turn-out, 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 Sherrie 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!

We 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 City.

Nancy Alice McHugh, RCV Task Force, Salt Lake Indivisible, Salt Lake City

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