Dec 1, 2022 - Politics
Utah's rural counties saw high voter turnout in midterm elections
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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