By: Maxfield Daley-Watson
In 2017 Michael Kaufusi won the Provo mayoral race with only 40% of the vote. During the 2016 presidential election, 21% of Utah voters favored an independent candidate, Evan McMullin, as a result Donald Trump won the state with 45.1% of the vote. Instances of candidates winning elections without a majority of the popular vote is not new to American elections, but several states appear to be making a concerted effort to address the problem. One solution that is gaining momentum is the broader implementation of instant run-off elections or ranked choice voting. While procedures vary across jurisdictions, the basic idea is that voters can rank their choice of candidate. If one candidate does not receive a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the lowest number of first-choice votes is eliminated, and the voters who ranked that candidate first have their votes allocated to the candidates they ranked second. The process repeats itself until one candidate has a majority.