UT ranks 39th in voter participation, but effort underway to change it

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – In a new set of ads encouraging people to vote, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox points out that Utah is 39th in voter participation. His office notes that 62 percent of unregistered voters haven’t signed up because no one has asked them.

Director of Utah Elections, Justin Lee, said he’s surprised that is what’s holding people back.

“It’s kind of mind blowing with all the information out there with the dates and deadlines that anyone can apparently go register to vote,” said Lee. “But apparently some people just want someone to go ask them.”

Lee notes that Utah has made it much easier for people to register and cast a ballot in Utah. Residents can register to vote online, or at their county clerk’s office until October 30th. For the first time, all counties will allow same-day registration at the polls.

All but two counties take part in mail-in balloting which greatly increases turnout.

Even with that effort, some voters like Utah County resident Sherry Lindsey believe it’s hard to get people motivated when races aren’t close.

“I think it’s because we live in a one party state and so people feel either way their vote doesn’t matter,” said Lindsey.

Several other people told us they just feel their vote doesn’t make a difference, or they’re disheartened by the current political climate.

We decided to see who we could get registered to vote. After just 20 minutes in downtown Salt Lake City, we managed to get four people signed up. While several others told us they were already registered to vote.

George and Sharron Masters are an elderly married couple from West Jordan who told us they always take part in elections even though they’re on other sides of the issues. They stressed it’s important to take part to make your voice heard.

“We’re from two different parties,” said George. “Her party gets elected quite often and mine doesn’t, but I still vote every time.”

“I think it’s a shame more people don’t vote because every vote is important,” said Sharron.

Officials are hoping voter turnout will be much higher this year because of the extra effort and so many issues and candidates being on the ballot.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...