Democratic caucus turnout exceeds expectations, officials say

Posted at 9:59 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 23:59:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a record night for Utah Democrats with turnout at caucuses across the state well exceeding expectations. At some caucuses, like Mountain View Elementary, there were last minute runs to get more ballots.

At about 7:30 p.m., Yándary Zavala, Communications Director for the Utah State Democratic Party, said she was about to head out to make sure the caucus location at Mountain View Elementary had enough ballots.

“We are running low and we're excited for the record turnout so we're going to make sure we have enough ballots for everyone here," she said.

Voters who arrived with a voter ID card were able to get their ballots with minimal difficulty. However, at many caucus locations, with the state website down, volunteers were unable to verify voters as they came in.

At Mountain View, volunteers asked people to either register as a new voter or to take a provisional ballot that will have to be verified later.

"The state party and the county parties are going to go ahead and get together and we're going to verify voter registration and the validity of the voter's eligibility," said Cree McNulty, Host of the caucus at Mountain View Elementary.

The switch to provisional ballots could slow results.  However, informal exit polls at Mountain View reflect what had been seen going into caucus night, a wide lead for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

"I am involved because Bernie gives me hope basically," said Isabella des Etoiles, first in line to caucus for at Mountain View Elementary.