Originally published in The Salt Lake Tribune | The Public Forum | Feb. 2, 2021

As the Utah legislative session gets underway, one of the largest discussions centers around alternative voting. There is a push to pass Ranked Choice Voting as the sole voting method in Utah after some cities and parties have used RCV under the current pilot program. However, we should not be so quick to commit to this overhaul. Ranked Choice Voting happens to also be the only alternative method we’ve tried and, because of this, it would be hard to attribute any amount of success to RCV alone rather than alternatives in general. If we really seek to improve elections in Utah, we should try another top alternative first, Approval Voting.

Approval Voting is a simple alternative that allows voters to choose all of the candidates they like rather than just one. Because of the simplicity of this method, it is extremely cost-effective, doesn’t require major ballot changes, and can be quickly calculated. Luckily, there is a new bill proposing simply adding Approval Voting to the current pilot program, effectively giving the state the chance to try another option before committing ourselves to the first method on the block.

As someone who is deeply invested in seeing Utah choose the best system possible, I strongly urge my representative, Rep. Paul Ray, as well as all legislators to give Utahns the chance to see how other methods work. Utahns deserve the very best, let’s take our time to make sure we’re making that happen before committing to a method.

Nate Allen, Clinton