Even before Election Day, Utah’s voter turnout for this year’s midterm election has exceeded the turnout from the last midterm.
An update released Monday evening by the Utah Elections Office shows that 47.7 percent of registered voters have voted — totaling 667,302 ballots. In 2014’s midterm election, Utah ended up with a voter turnout of 46.25 percent.
“For a midterm general election, there is a lot of enthusiasm and a lot more interest in this election than I’ve seen in many years,” said Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson.
Thompson predicts turnout for Utah County could approach 60 percent. While voting by mail is convenient, he reminds that it does change how quickly results are released, especially for ballots that are mailed the day before the election or dropped off in person on Election Day.
“It does make it so those instant updates on election night aren’t quite as instant because we still have to keep the integrity of verifying signatures,” Thompson said.
Because it can take 24 hours to process a mail-in ballot, the results of close races may not be known until counties update their election results on Thursday or Friday.
Ballots sent through the mail needed to be postmarked no later than Monday. However, if residents missed that deadline, they can still drop their ballots off in person at polling locations on Election Day.
In Utah County on Monday, many voters were opting to avoid the post office and instead deliver their ballots directly to the clerk’s office.
“Even though it’s one vote in millions, I still feel like I did my part,” said Provo resident Skyler Shelton.
Even though he made the trip to submit his ballot, Shelton said he still likes the convenience of having the ballot sent to his home so that he can look it over before Election Day.
“I did some research online just to make sure I know what I’m doing and making an informed decision — not just spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” he said.