Excerpts from Utah's drop in voter turnout bucks national trend by Lee Davidson, Deseret News
While America just hit a 40-year high in voter turnout, Utah slumped to the biggest drop in turnout among all the states compared to the last presidential election.
Just 53.8 percent of Utah's eligible voting-age population voted last month — down from an also-low 58.9 percent four years ago.
That drop of 5.1 percentage points was the worst among all states, according to data compiled by the United States Election Project at George Mason University.
Utah had the fourth-lowest rate among the states. The only states where it was lower were West Virginia and Hawaii, both at 50.6 percent, and Arkansas, 53.4 percent.
Jowers said that contributing to low turnout in Utah likely was "a lack of passion for Utah Republicans to vote for (GOP nominee John) McCain or against Obama. In 2004 and 2000, there was a real dislike among them for the Democratic nominees. This time, people did not hate Obama," he said.
Jowers said Utah likely would have done much better if Mitt Romney — a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former head of the 2002 Olympics — had been on the ballot.
Jowers noted that lousy turnouts are not new in Utah, which had the nation's worst voter turnout in the 2006 non-presidential elections. That comes despite all of the money spent on races here, and even pleas from churches from the pulpit for members to vote.
Reasons for that besides lack of competitiveness in races may include, he said, the fact that Utah has the youngest population in the nation — and young people tend to vote less.