close
close
Utah County Commissioners Confirm Primary Elections with 41% Voter Turnout
Utah County Commissioners Confirm Primary Elections with 41% Voter Turnout

Tuesday, July 9, was primary election vote counting day across the state. Utah’s 29 counties voted to certify the totals and results of the 2024 primary election.

“Before the election, voter turnout in Utah County was very low and I was a little worried as Election Day approached, but Election Day was pretty spectacular. We had 38,000 ballots in our mailboxes and just over 3,100 people came out to vote in person,” Utah County Clerk Aaron Davidson said at the start of his presentation to election commissioners on Tuesday.

The county began the primary with 228,232 eligible voters; 94,070 votes were counted, representing a statewide turnout of 41.2%.

“I’ve tried to encourage the use of Dropboxes because I think using Dropboxes is much safer,” Davidson said.

Voters responded positively to the encouragement to use drop boxes this year; 77% of ballots were cast this way.

Earlier this year, Davidson decided to stop charging postage for returned ballots and required voters to affix their own stamp if they wanted to return their ballot by mail. 19 of Utah’s 29 counties do not pay return postage. Federal election law requires the post office to deliver unstamped ballots and bill the county for the postage.

Of the voters who returned their ballots by mail, 16,953 were stamped and 4,701 were mailed without a stamp.

Advertising

Although postal voting is convenient, it also brings with it challenges that can lead to voter disempowerment.

In Utah County, 1,473 signatures did not match the voter signatures on file, 141 voters did not sign their ballots, and 782 arrived late. Of the 2,852 ballots on the “cure list,” the list of ballots that required clarification, 955 were cured or clarified and counted.

“The best thing we can do is encourage in-person voting, then mailboxes, and finally the mail,” Davidson concluded.

“Turnout in the primary in June 2016, the year before mail-in voting, was 16.8% and today it’s 41%. If you look at the biggest demographic change, it’s mothers, and I’m a firm believer that the mother’s vote counts, and mothers in Utah County were at the bottom of the vote until we voted by mail,” responded Commissioner Amelia Gardner, who defended mail-in voting.

The meeting concluded with public comments from about a dozen citizens expressing concerns about the election process, absentee voting and their perceived signature collection issues related to the gubernatorial election. Several members of the public urged commissioners not to certify the election, even though it had already been unanimously certified prior to public comment by Commissioners Brandon Gordon and Amelia Gardner, as well as Utah County Treasurer Kim Jackson, who was filling in for absentee Commissioner Tom Sakievich.

By Isla