Primary election canvas is in; future of Ridge Top Complex yet in planning

A city resident addresses the St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Feb. 5, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Canvass results showing voter turnout just over 10 percent for St. George’s August primary were considered by City Council Thursday night as well as on plans for converting the city’s Ridge Top Complex into a corporate business and technology park.

Primary election canvass

While unofficial numbers released after the primary election Aug. 11 showed voter turnout in St. George at 9.2 percent of registered voters, the canvassed results put voter turnout at 10.3 percent of 36,698 registered voters.

Unofficial numbers derived from 3,380 voters casting ballots through early voting, absentee and provisional ballots as well as voting at the polls.

The official canvass added 390 additional ballots to the tally; hence, 3,770 ballots counted, adding 1.1 percent to the turnout, or a total turnout of 10.3 percent in St. George.

The total votes – not ballots – counted Aug. 11 were 8,912. The official canvass brought that number up to 9,929 votes.

Sadly, 10 percent is just that,” Councilman Gil Almquist said as the numbers were broken down for the council.

How people voted

  • Voters using absentee ballots accounted for 5.75 percent of voter turnout, or 2,109 ballots
  • Voters using the polls the day of the primaries, Aug. 11, accounted for 3.8 percent, or 1,394 ballots
  • Voters using early voting accounted for 0.52 percent, or 191 ballots
  • Voters using provisional ballots accounted for 0.21 percent, or 76 ballots

Noting that absentee ballots made up the majority of ballots cast, Councilman and incumbent candidate Jimmie Hughes said he wondered if it was a sign of the future.

The canvassed votes didn’t change the outcome of the primary election in St. George other than to add more votes to the final six candidates previously announced.

The breakdown of primary votes is as follows:

  1. Jimmie Hughes, incumbent, 1,572 votes
  2. Bette Arial, incumbent, 1,439 votes
  3. Ed Baca, 1,280 votes
  4. Gregg McArthur, 1,023 votes
  5. N. Craig Hammer, 876 votes
  6. Bryan Thiriot, 699 votes


Compare to unofficial results: Southern Utah 2015 primary election results

The City Council voted unanimously to accept the canvassed numbers.

Some City Council members said a possible reason for the low voter turnout might have to do with August being a busy month for people with school starting. Others, like Washington County Clerk Kim Hafen, said the lack of any major state or federal races in this election cycle may be a factor.

The general election will be held Nov. 3.

Ridge Top Complex, other business

The City Council continued discussions about its plans for a future sale of the 200-plus-acre Ridge Top Complex where the former municipal airport sat. City Manager Gary Esplin said the city plans to turn that property into a corporate business and tech park.

“We’ve had several different companies already ask what what we’re going to do with the property,” Esplin said. “We’re not selling it until we have the uses determined, and those uses will coincide with the corporate business park.”

The city has already agreed to sell 30 acres to Dixie Applied Technology College for its new campus.

City staff expect to present basic concepts to the council within the next month, Esplin said, identifying preferred uses for the complex.

Other business

The City Council approved the leasing of 35 new Ford Interceptor SUVs for the Police Department at a total cost of $1,075,000. The need for new vehicles was highlighted during city budget talks earlier this year as a number of the department’s current vehicles have over 100,000 miles.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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