By Ruth Olson
The tight presidential race prompted a high voter turnout and long lines at voting stations nationwide Tuesday.
In Utah, preliminary reports indicated a turnout of 78 percent, higher than last year but still not reaching the record 81 percent turnout of 1992. Final reports would not be available until sometime Wednesday morning, according to the state”s election office.
But the higher turnout did not change the state”s overwhelmingly Republican results. Early estimates indicated 72 percent of Utah”s vote went to Bush.
Reports of long lines at polling stations across the country held true in Utah. Sandy Hoffmann, election specialist in Utah County, said the polls were busier than they have been in years.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of people all day,” she said. The 20 percent increase in voter registration this year seems to have translated into a higher number of voters, she added.
Debbie Nerrill, a Cedar Hills resident, said there were long lines at her voting station where waited half an hour to cast her ballot.
Despite the high registration numbers, the percentage of student voters did not change much since the 2000 election. Exit polls indicated that fewer than 1 in 10 voters were between the ages of 18 and 24, about the same as in the 2000 election.
Voter turnout estimates for this year”s election were between 58 percent and 60 percent nationwide. If this holds, voter turnout would be up about 10 percent from the 2000 presidential elections. Overall voter turnout in 2000 presidential election was only 51 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.