Derek Monson. From>derek-monson

SALT LAKE CITY — HB 290, sponsored by Representative Katy Hall (R-South Ogden) would move up the date in which Utah’s ongoing pilot program experiment with Ranked Choice Voting would actually end.

As it stands, the program would end January 1, 2026, but Hall’s bill would seek to move that date up to May 1st of this year. Her argument is that Ranked Choice Voting has caused confusion and complaints in municipal elections.

On KVNU’s For the People program last week, Derek Monson, chief growth officer for conservative think tank Sutherland Institute talked about what Ranked Choice Voting is and how it works a bit differently than most people are used to.

“Instead of voting for one person, and then whoever gets the most votes wins, that could be in a highly-contested race, like a primary, something that could be as low as the upper 30’s like we saw with the governors primary last time around. Or it could be majority-plus or 60 or 70(percent), but the way ranked-choice voting works is, instead of that, you get to rank multiple candidates. You get to rank your first choice, and then second choice, third choice, however many candidates there are,” he explained.

While not taking a side on the issue, Monson said they see both sides of Ranked Choice Voting.

“We certainly have looked into ranked-choice voting and see some of the benefits like I just described them, but we also recognize that that might not be the best system in every instance, different types of elections, higher profile elections or in primaries in certain incidents. We’re still kind of exploring some of those questions because there’s debate about when and where ranked choice voting fits the best.”

But Monson said at the municipal level, the pilot program was in reality the legislature saying that they think that people, through their duly-elected representatives in their cities, can handle what type of election system they want to use.

And if they prefer Ranked-Choice Voting, that’s an option they can have. He feels the program is a way to let the will of the people be decided through their city officials.

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