With the passage of SB54, Utah's caucus/convention method of determining how candidates get placed on ballot was paired with a parallel method where candidates can be placed on the ballot through a petition effort. The changes are scheduled to take affect in 2016.
The question then is what happens when you have more than two candidates on a ballot and the winning candidate receives less than a majority of the vote (aka a plurality)? Interestingly, 36 of the states in the U.S. have a plurality system in place and have no other process or mechanism for making sure the winning candidate receives a majority of the vote. Yet, 14 other states do require a majority vote to win an election.
The question facing the Legislature this year is multi-faceted:
1. Do we want to require a majority vote for a candidate to win an election? Or are we fine with a candidate receiving less than a majority?
2. If we want a majority winner, what method would be best to make that happen?
Our interim committee looked at several prospective methods used by other states to determine a winner in a case of plurality winners. One option includes a run-off election held between the top two candidates in the primary election. Another option includes a 'ranked' voting system where voters prioritize multiple candidates. A third, less appealing, option includes kicking a plurality result from the primary race back to the parties to determine a winner.
'Ranked' voting, often called Preferential Voting was one of the for fascinating options. Here is a video that explains how it works in Australia: