Turnout is sky-high in Weber and Davis counties

Nov 7 2012 - 7:19am

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The race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney likely helped attract a large number of voters Tuesday to the polls in Weber and Davis counties, election officials said.

Election officials estimated turnout in both counties at about 75 percent.

The tally does not include provisional ballots to be counted when votes are canvassed.

The turnout totals compare to 2008 totals of 77.3 percent in Davis County and 62 percent in Weber.

Election officials had been predicting turnouts as high as 80 percent, based on their reading of the turnout before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Davis County Clerk-Auditor Steve Rawlings said that 38 percent of Davis County's voters had already voted as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. That included early voting and mail-in ballots, he said.

After 9 a.m. voting was steady but not as heavy as expected, Rawlings added.

"We started out with some lines this morning, and once the lines got pretty well taken care of it's been steady all day long," Rawlings said Tuesday afternoon.

Neither county polled people to ask why so many of them voted, but Rawlings agreed Romney's popularity in Utah could be one factor. He is well-known in Utah because of the 2002 Winter Games and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Weber County Clerk Auditor Ricky Hatch said the 62 percent turnout in 2008 may be low because, at that time, Weber County had not purged its voting records of inactive voters or voters who had moved.

Hatch said Tuesday's turnout in Weber was "solid and fairly heavy."

"It's been solid at pretty much every location and during the slow times you're waiting at least a minute or two. It seems like just a constant flow."

Beyond minor technical and training issues, voting was smooth, both clerks said.

In Davis County the electricity for voting machines went out for about five minutes at one location until someone reset the breaker, Rawlings said.

In Weber, Hatch said, some locations were running low on envelopes Tuesday afternoon for provisional ballots "so we're already in the process of making some of our own."

The polls closed at 8 p.m., but all voters who were in line at that time were allowed to vote.

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