Dec 1, 2022 - Politics

Utah's rural counties saw high voter turnout in midterm elections

Utah voter turnout for the 2022 midterms, by county
Data: Utah Office of the Lieutenant Governor; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Utah's southern rural counties achieved the highest voter turnout in the state during last month's midterm election, results show.

By the numbers: Overall, 64.2% of registered Utah voters turned out to vote. That's about 11% less than the turnout during the 2018 midterms.

  • Wayne County, home to 1,832 registered voters, had the highest voter turnout in the state (84%), followed by Garfield, Grand, and Kane counties, which each had 78%.
  • Tooele County had the lowest turnout at 59.1%.
  • Utah's largest county, Salt Lake, had a 65% turnout.

Of note: Similar trends were seen in Utah rural counties in 2018.

Why it matters: Nationally, Democrats and Republicans are eyeing rural voters in 2024, NPR reports.

  • One community organizer told NPR that Democrats gaining more votes in rural areas is key to their success even if they don't win those places outright.
  • This year, Democrats made gains with rural voters in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin in regions where Republicans were previously successful.

Between the lines: Ryan Cowley, the state's elections director, said statewide turnout was "pretty solid" for a midterm election, but "not great."

  • Cowley said it's difficult to compare election years because participation can depend on the issues and voters' enthusiasm for certain candidates or ballot measures.
  • During the 2018 midterms, he said, hot issues like medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion and redistricting were on the ballot, resulting in a 75.5% statewide voter turnout.
  • This year, the marquee race on the ballot for voters was the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Mike Lee and independent Evan McMullin.
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