Utah voter turnout could hit 75 percent
Utahns turned out in high numbers to vote Tuesday, and with early and absentee voting, one state election official estimated the total could go as high as 75 percent of active registered voters a rate that would be among the state's highest.
"Throughout the day we had a lot of activity," said Mark Thomas, state elections director. "I don't think there is any question that Mitt Romney's candidacy played into it."
By the time polls opened Tuesday, about 30 percent of Utah voters already had cast ballots during two weeks of early voting or by absentee ballot, Thomas said.
In Davis and Salt Lake counties, some 34 percent had voted by Election Day.
By comparison, Utah's voter turnout in the 2008 election was 67.8 percent, according to the Lt. Governor's Office. In 2004, the presidential election drew 73.7 percent of Utah voters; in 2000, the turnout was 69.8 percent.
On most election days, there is a upswing of voting between 6 and 8 p.m., Thomas explained. But Tuesday that didn't happen. Such a late-hour rush might have raised voter turnout up to 80 percent. "But at 6 p.m., we saw things drop off," he said.