Utah State Senate rejects effort to repeal use of ranked-choice voting

The Utah State Senate rejected a bill to repeal the use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) in local Utah elections on Thursday, Feb. 29th. HB290 would have eliminated the Municipal Alternate Voting Methods Pilot Project, which allows municipalities to adopt instant-runoff voting, a form of RCV, for odd year elections. Currently, 23 localities in the state participate in the program.

The bill passed the Utah House of Representatives 43-26 on Feb. 22, and received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee on Feb. 26. Despite the favorable report out of committee, the bill failed before the full senate in a 15-12 vote on Feb. 29.

The Utah legislature adjourned on Friday, March 1, ending the state’s regular session for the year and ensuring that RCV will continue in the state for now, barring reconsideration of a repeal in any special sessions later this year. While use of RCV will continue in the state for now, the pilot project under which municipalities have adopted instant-runoff voting will end on Jan. 1, 2026.

Utah is the only Republican trifecta state where RCV is currently in use. The Republican-sponsored effort to end the Municipal Alternate Voting Methods Pilot Project is consistent with the approach other Republican legislators have taken towards RCV across the country so far this year. Over 90% of Republican sponsored bills related to RCV (27 bills) ban or repeal the use of the voting system. Just one bill prohibiting RCV has any Democratic sponsorship.

On the other hand, Democratic state legislators are seeking to expand the use of RCV, largely without Republican support. Of the 62 bills that would allow or implement RCV for new elections, only seven have any Republican sponsorship.