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Salt Lake City Primary Election Turnout Meeting Expectations

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City has already surpassed 30 percent voter turnout for this year’s August 11th primary election, which includes a hotly contested mayor’s race and one city council race. The deadline to postmark mail-in ballots is today.

Primaries are known to draw smaller crowds. During the 2011 municipal primaries, fewer than 13 percent of registered voters in Salt Lake County participated.  But this year, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says it’s already climbed to 22 percent county-wide and it’s not even Election Day. That’s due mostly, she says, to the new Vote-by-Mail system most cities in the county have established.

Salt Lake City Recorder Cindi Mansell says there is an expectation that Salt Lake City will reach 40 percent. The last primary election in Salt Lake City drew only 20 percent of registered voters.

“I mean if you look at the numbers, we have over a thousand ballots coming in each day last week, so I do, I think we’re going to get there,” Mansell says.

Mansell says the election has gone smoothly and suspects the election night tally will be much easier than it has been in past elections. Although it will take up to two weeks to get the final results.

“The county has indicated that right at 8pm, so when the polls close that they’ll be able to release the results from all the vote-by-mail ballots, all of the ballots that have been turned in,” Mansell says. “And then they’ll add the vote center ballots that have come in during the day from the actual voting locations.”

Traditional neighborhood polling locations are not open this year. Voters who missed the august 10th postmark deadline can go to a number of vote centers with electronic voting machines. If you haven’t registered to vote, you can do that on Election Day by way of a provisional ballot. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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