Washington County voter turnout for primaries better than previous years but could use improvement

A ballot drop box outside of the Washington County Administration Building, Aug. 10, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As of Thursday afternoon, the unofficial, overall voter turnout for Washington County’s municipal elections stands at 31%. While the turnout is considered better when compared to previous years, the county’s new clerk/auditor considered it “unfortunate” that it wasn’t higher.

An elections staffer receives boxes and bags voting equipment and ballots collected from in-person voting locations and drop boxes around the county, St. George, Utah, Aug. 10, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Initially, vote tallies for mail-in ballots put the county at 27% voter turnout Tuesday night. This has risen to 31% so far with the counting of additional ballots collected from drop boxes around the county.

Numbers still have a chance to rise, though likely not by much, Washington County Clerk/Auditor Susan Lewis said.

Typically, municipal elections don’t draw as many voters as state and national-level elections do, Lewis said, and noted a staff member was happy to see the near-30% turnout Tuesday night as compared to one year the county saw a municipal primary turnout had hovered around 11%.

“It’s still a lot higher than a typical municipal primary,” Lewis said.

This is the first year the county has conducted its municipal elections primarily through mail, which has helped the turnout, she said.

“People pretty much don’t get involved until the general election,” Lewis said. “I wish more people would pay more attention to their local elections – they have a whole lot more say and influence with their vote.”

Local politics can also impact a person’s daily life a lot faster than state and federal politics can, she added.

The bulk of the turnout for the city’s municipalities were around or just below 30%.

As of Thursday, St. George stands at 30.7%, Hurricane is at 28.9% and Washington City is around 31.4%. St. George and Washington City held primaries for mayoral and city council races, while Hurricane only had a city council race this year.

In 2015, some municipal primaries saw less than a 10% turnout.

Exceptions were seen among the smaller municipalities.

Apple Valley and Springdale had turnouts of over 44% and 56% respectively. Apple Valley held mayor and town council primaries while Springdale’s was a mayoral primary only.

These numbers are subject to change as lingering votes are counted. Official numbers will be canvassed by their respectively municipalities in the near future.

The unofficial results of the 2021 primary election can be found here.

Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2021 election by clicking here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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