Voter turnout varies in Utah County cities

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    By REBECCA NEYENHUIS

    Voter turnout in Utah County cities is dependent on size, type of election, weather and opposition say election officials.

    Size plays a big factor in voter turnout. Smaller cities like Salem, Mapleton, Alpine and Lehi typically have high turnouts, around 50 to 55 percent. Mid-sized cities like Payson, American Fork, Lindon and Pleasant Grove have turnouts typically in the 20 to 30 percent range. Large cities like Provo and Orem typically have 15 to 25 percent turnouts.

    Saratoga Springs is having its first election, and before election results city recorder Joylin Lincoln said the city was expecting 70-80 percent. The actual turnout was 68 percent. She attributes the high turnout to the city’s first election and active residents.

    Voter turnout percentages are higher during bond and presidential elections, said Highland City recorder Winnie Jensen. Mayoral elections have higher turnout too, so most cities coordinate mayoral with presidential election years.

    Voters are also most likely to hit the polls if unsatisfied.

    “Turnout depends on the satisfaction of the electorate, if they are satisfied and the controversy is lower, turnout is lower,” said Ott Dameron, Lindon City Recorder.

    Storms and bad weather can also keeps voters away from the polls, especially older voters, said Salem City recorder Paul Hair. He is expecting a good turnout this election because the weather has been good.

    Opposition can change turnout drastically. While typical elections have almost a 50 percent turnout, city recorder Don Walker said Mapleton will have around a 10 percent turnout this year because all the candidates are running unopposed.

    To increase voter turnout, some cities have advertised the election more heavily. In Payson, ads ran in local papers and in the Daily Herald, signs were posted and candidates even went door to door telling voters when and where to vote, said city recorder Jennette Gerrad.

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