Utah’s 29 Counties Finalize Election Results
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Many of the Beehive State’s 29 counties were celebrating increased voter turnout as they submitted their final vote totals to the state election office on Tuesday, exactly two weeks after Election Day.
Statewide, voter turnout was estimated to be at 87%, according to Utah Elections Director Justin Lee. A final number will be released in the coming days once the state canvass is complete.
Along the Wasatch Front, voter turnout approached or surpassed 90% in several counties.
“I literally did not have any scenario in my head that we would reach a 90% voter turnout,” said Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner. “In my mind, our cap was going to be around 80%. If we had had 83%, I would have been shocked.”
Utah County reported a turnout of 89.6%, far exceeding the last general election’s turnout of 74.4% in 2016.
“I think the big message for the rest of the country is that a mail-in election doesn’t have to be a mess,” Powers Gardner said. “It can be a smooth process. It can bring confidence to the voters.”
In Davis County, turnout was even higher at 90.5%. During the November election four years ago, the county had a turnout of 88.2%.
In Salt Lake County, final voter turnout reached 90.1% when the results were finalized on Tuesday, also surpassing the county’s 2016 turnout of 83.7%.
“It’s amazing to me,” said Salt Lake County Election Manager Jenn Fowler of the voter turnout. “It makes me feel good, though, it really does. With everything that’s been going on I’m glad that people still voted.”
Fowler said the 2020 election cycle was extremely unique because of the pandemic and the resulting nationwide scrutiny on the vote-by-mail process.
“It’s been a long haul for us all,” she said. “This year was different because we had to do a lot of workarounds and we had to hire a lot of help to get us through this.”
Election workers had to practice social distancing and other health precautions all while facilitating in-person voting and the processing of hundreds of thousands of mail-in and paper ballots.
“It was a great risk and we are very, very indebted to them for that,” Fowler said.
In Utah County, Powers Gardner said her office had to recruit more election workers that were outside of the high-risk health category.
“The heroics of a younger generation stepping up to become of a poll worker — learning an entirely new process,” she said.
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