Utah's Municipal Election Turnout Lags | KUER 90.1

Utah's Municipal Election Turnout Lags

Nov 3, 2017

On Tuesday November 7th, Utahns around the state will have a chance to vote in local elections. It’s also the time to fill former Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s seat in the 3rd Congressional District. So far, turnout of mail-in ballots is low.

According to Mark Thomas, director of elections with the lieutenant governor’s office, only about 20 percent of Utahns eligible to vote have cast their ballots. With the majority of the state now voting by mail, that’s discouragingly low, but not uncommon.

"In a typical municipal election we would have between 10 to 20 percent turnout," Thomas says. 

Tuesday’s election is unique since the 3rd Congressional District seat is open. Thomas says it’s the first time a congressional seat has ever been open during an off-year election in Utah. The top two candidates in the race are Republican John Curtis and Democrat Kathie Allen.

But Thomas says besides the congressional seat, there aren’t many high profile races.

"It’s hard to get voters excited even though oftentimes these are the races that have an impact on you as a citizen of Utah much more than other races. The impact that city council and mayors have." 

Vote-by-mail ballots have to be postmarked the day before the election - that’s this Monday. In-person voting will also take place at polling places on Tuesday.