Senator Vyhovsky provided an overview of S.32 for the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. She noted that the $2M appropriation originally in the bill for the Secretary of States Office (SOS) has been removed. Since the SOS will not be working to implement Rank Choice Voting (RCV) by 2024 that appropriation was no longer needed. There is still a $1k appropriation for a summer study committee tasked with looking at implementing RCV for 2026 for state and federal election. There would also be $100,000 in funding to educate town clerks on how this election system would work for those that chose to do this (a one-time appropriation).
Vyhovsky noted that if the state wants to move forward with RCV the SOS would need to hire for a new position. Senator Starr asked if there would be assistance for small towns that do hand counting. He also asked if they would get automatic tabulation machines so they were not counting ballots “all night.” Senator Westman was interested in this as well.
Vyhovsky commented that this is one of the issues that the study committee should look at. She added that the Senate Government Operations Committee took testimony from a Republican state representative from Utah on how the party there uses RCV in its primaries.
There was a motion to move the bill forward but take out the $2M appropriation for the SOS. The motion passed favorably on a 5-1-1 vote. Westman was the only no vote. He raised concerns that the small towns in his district would not like the change.