Low Voter Turnout Expected This Election Day


In Utah, only a small number of races are actually too close to call come November. The vast majority of races are a foregone victory for either the Republican or Democratic candidate appearing on the ballot with the November ballot being a formality.

It is because of this fact that many political hopefuls fight hard to win primary elections, such as those being held today.

Somewhat ironically, primary elections historically see very low voter turn out despite the relative importance of the election, often times struggling to have a third of registered voters cast a ballot.

Adding to election day turnout woes is the fact that this election falls on an “off year;” a year when high profile elections for president often turn out voters who would otherwise stay home. In fact, there are no federal or statewide races up for a primary election, meaning that the highest profile races are little known county positions that generally fail to energize voters to show up to the polls.

In all, Republicans have two Senate and four House races up for grabs this primary election while the Democrats only have one House race being decided by a primary.

That is not to say that there are not some races that are worth paying attention to.

Perhaps the most interesting election will be the Republican race for House District 60 in Orem. The race pits current one-term lawmaker, Dana Layton against former lawmaker Brad Daw, who lost to Layton in 2012.

It was revealed during the Swallow investigations that Daw became the target of a campaign falsely stating that Daw supported Obamacare.

The investigation revealed that political consultant, Jason Powers worked with former Attorney General, John Swallow, to attack Daw after the lawmaker attempted to pass legislation regulating the payday loan industry – an industry that consistently donated large amounts of money to the Swallow campaign.

Daw appears to be beating a warpath in his attempt to take back the seat he lost two years ago. If successful, it will point towards the fact that Republican Party voters are vigorously attempting to distance themselves from further Swallow fallout over the coming months.

For the Democrats, the race receiving the most attention is the one between Jeff Hatch and Chris Stout for Salt Lake County Auditor due to its symbolic nature.

Hatch lost his re-election bid for Salt Lake County Auditor in 2010; this fact, however, has not stopped many high-profile Democrats from throwing their support (and money) behind Hatch in his attempt to defeat Stout.

Stout, who has run for numerous seats over the years, beat Hatch by eight points at last April’s Salt Lake County Democratic Convention. If Stout is successful, it could signal a change in the way Democratic voters feel the party needs to approach elections in the county, which has seen steady decreases in Democratic victories on Capitol Hill.

For a complete list of candidates up for election this primary click here. To see polling locations and sample ballots, visit vote.utah.gov. Polls will close at 8 PM.

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