Final vote count sees ‘significant increase’ in voter turnout

In this file photo, St. George residents voting early in the 2016 general election, St. George, Utah, Nov. 4, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Washington County saw a “significant increase” in registered voters this presidential election year versus 2012, according to the final, official results of Election Day. Those numbers were approved by the Washington County Commission in a special meeting Tuesday.

This year, 63,117 of the county’s 80,200 registered voters cast ballots in the election for a turnout of 78.7 percent. In 2012, the voter turnout was 80.8 percent. However, Washington County Clerk Kim Hafen said the number of registered voters in the county was up by 13,000 since that time, 8,612 of whom voted.

That was a significant increase in the people that voted,” Hafen said.

The general outcome of the final count didn’t change much from the previous, unofficial results.

Proposition 1 remains dead with 31,005 against it and 28,288 for it, for a 52 to 47 percent split. Known popularly as “Prop. 1,” the ballot initiative would have increased the local sales tax by 0.25 percent on nonfood items (or 1 cent out of every $4) for additional funding for transportation infrastructure building and maintenance, as well as public transit.

In the race for Washington County School Board District 3, Terry Hutchinson keeps his lead at 4,276 votes to Debbra Zockoll’s 4,071, for a 51 to 48 percent split.

As for the presidential race, 68.4 percent of county voters went for Donald Trump, while 16.5 percent went to Hillary Clinton. Independent candidate Evan McMullin took 10.5 percent of the county vote while Libertarian Gary Johnson garnered 2.3 percent.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, New York City, New York | AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, St. George News
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, New York City, New York | AP Photo by Evan Vucci, St. George News

Overall state results put Trump at 45.4 percent, Clinton at 27.5 percent, McMullin at 21.6 percent, and Johnson at 3.5 percent.

Of the provisional ballots cast, 4,187 were collected in Washington County with 3,758 counted, as 429 ballots were disqualified for various reasons.

The County Clerk’s Office sent out 18,255 mail-in ballots, of which 16,251 were returned. Of the latter, 306 mail-in ballots were also disqualified for various reasons, such as not having a signature on them or being mailed after Nov. 7.

With the increasing popularity of mail-in ballots, Hafen was asked by the County Commission about the probability of going to mail-in ballots instead of using voting machines.

Hafen said he has no preference either way, as many other counties have gone to mail-in ballots exclusively. However, if the county went to mail-only, the county would have to invest in counting machines and additional manpower as people would be needed to open envelopes and sort the ballots for runs through the machines.

In other words: It would be expensive and labor intensive.

“My opinion is if someone wants to be (voting) by mail today they can be,” Hafen said. “All they have to do is sign up for permanent absentee and they’ll get it in the mail. If they don’t want to, they can use the machine and vote.”

Report continues below.

The local races

Washington County School Board District 1: Becky Dunn garnered 4,384 votes/60.4 percent to Richelle Nelson’s 2,889 votes/39.6 percent.

Washington County School Board District 2: Incumbent Craig Seegmiller took 4,322 votes/64.7 percent to challenger Rick Nelson’s 2,312 votes/35.3 percent.

Washington County School District 3: Terry Hutchinson took 4,276 votes/51.2 percent to Debbra Zockoll’s 4,071 voters/48.7 percent

Senate District 29: Republican incumbent Don Ipson garnered 32,177 votes to Democratic challenger Dorothy Engelman’s 9,114 votes, a 78 to 22 percent split.

House District 71: Republican incumbent Brad Last garnered 9,427 votes to Democratic challenger Chuck Goode’s 2,350 votes, an 80 to 20 percent split.

Washington County Commission Seat C: Dean Cox received 42,703 votes/74.3 percent; Josh Warburton garnered 7,726 votes/13.4 percent, and Greg Aldred took 7,083 votes/12.3 percent.

Proposition 1: 31,005 votes against and 28,288 for, making for a 52.3 to 47.7 percent split.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • .... November 23, 2016 at 9:15 am

    This is wonderful news for the people of the community it’s exciting to see more people get involved in local politics and to engage themselves in the national issues and ask questions and do research to help them decide in which direction they chose to go.

    as always I was more than happy to volunteer my time and answer phone calls and questions and assist people in getting registered and assist them in getting legal and voting information

    I was very excited about the voting turnout this year and I was so thrilled to help a lot of people get registered. I would like to thank all those other volunteers that gave their time as I did to make this happen. .and a very big Thank You ! to

  • .... November 23, 2016 at 9:15 am

    All the people that registered to vote !

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