Registration up, participation down in Utah voting

Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 20:05:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- County Clerks across the state have seen a spike in voter registration.

However, they are not seeing a similar rise in early voting participation, which could lead to long lines and slow vote counts on Election Day itself.

"Turnout has so far been a little bit underwhelming," said Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.

On Tuesday, Cox spoke in a press conference, flanked by the clerks of two counties that have switched to a vote by mail system.

Sherrie Swensen said the increase in voter registration is unlike anything in her 25 years in office.

"Since September First it has grown by about 40,000 active registered voters," Swensen said.

The Lt. Governor’s office says 21 percent of Utahns voted by Nov. 1, while they had expected 30 to 35 percent.

Swensen said their biggest worry is a last-minute deluge of mail-in ballots and long lines at Election Day polling places.

"If we receive [mailed ballots] on Monday and voters in huge numbers on Tuesday we will not be able to give as many results on election night," Swensen said.