After another municipal primary in which very few people bothered to vote, more area officials have been talking about the possibility of moving to a by-mail balloting system the next time around. The Aug. 11 primary, which involved city and town council races in four Washington County municipalities, saw historically low voter turnout for some. St. George finished with a turnout of 10.2 percent, while Hurricane was 9.6 percent. Washington City finished comparatively high at 14.8 percent. The town of Virgin, where voters had been primed by a special election in June over a zone change request regarding a proposed RV resort, had by far the highest turnout, with 54 percent.
Those figures weren’t especially unusual for municipal primaries, where turnout is typically dismal – in 2011 it was 12 percent in St. George, 11 percent in Hurricane and 16 percent in Washington City. But it does follow a long-term downward trend.
In the 2014 general election, turnout was just under 46 percent in the county, setting a new record low by dipping below the 49 percent recorded in 2006, and turnout has been ticking downward for decades. National studies indicate all-mail ballots increase participation in local elections, and about a third of the state’s local governments have started using them.
Full Article: Low turnout has cities exploring by-mail ballots.