Salt Lake City to use ranked-choice voting for the first time in November election

The general election for Salt Lake City, Utah, is on Nov. 2. The election will be the first time the city uses a ranked-choice voting system. After the Utah State Legislature gave cities the option to use ranked-choice voting, the Salt Lake City Council opted into the program in April 2021.

Candidates are competing for five seats on the seven-seat city council. Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are holding regular elections for a four-year term, while District 2 is holding a special election to fill a two-year term.

In a ranked-choice voting election, voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

A primary election had originally been scheduled for Aug. 10 but was canceled when the city council voted to institute ranked-choice voting.

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all U.S. capitals.