WASHINGTON COUNTY — Republican voters took to the polls in Tuesday’s primary, casting their ballots for U.S. Senate, Utah House and Washington County Commission candidates.
Poll workers at Bloomington Hills Elementary, which covers St. George precincts 29 and 30, reported a steady stream of voters throughout the first half of the day. About 30 people had cast their ballots in the first hour after the polls opened at 7 a.m. By 2:30 p.m., the number of ballots cast at that location exceeded 220.
At the Washington County School District warehouse, the polling location for St. George precincts 27 and 28, poll workers reported about 20 voters during the first hour and nearly 150 by 2:30 p.m.
The clock is ticking
Washington County GOP voters are joining with others statewide in deciding between Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy to run as the Republican nominee in November for the U.S. Senate.
Washington County’s County Commission Seat A is also up for grabs, with Gil Almquist and Allen J. Davis both seeking to succeed Zachary Renstrom as commissioner.
Voters in the eastern portions of Washington and Iron counties are also deciding between incumbent Rep. Brad Last and challenger Mark Borowiak in the Utah House District 71 race.
Preliminary Washington County election results posted on the county clerk/auditor’s website at 4:30 p.m. showed Romney, Almquist and Last winning in their respective races. Later in the day, however, the preliminary results were removed. In their place was this statement: “Stay tune (sic). Election has started. Posted results will appear as voting precincts deliver their ballots,” followed by, “Results are scheduled to begin posting online on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 8:30pm Mountain Time.”
Even though their ballots had just two races on them, one husband-wife couple said they felt they were fulfilling their civic duty.
“We always vote, every time,” the woman said as she exited the polls. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say in anything.”
Another couple at a different polling place shared similar sentiments. “It’s what we do,” said the husband. “We never miss it. It’s important,” added his wife.
One man at the Bloomington Hills Elementary voting location took his pet “sugar glider” marsupials in with him to vote. He identified himself simply as “Hawk” and said he was a Native American and a military veteran.
Hawk said he voted to show his support for the government and said he’d like to see less political divisiveness.
“Why can’t we not have labels like African American, Native American and Hispanic American? Why can’t we all just be Americans?” he said.
Elsewhere in St. George, at the Parks Division office, multiple Precinct 42 voters reported being concerned with issues such as taxes, water, population growth and the candidates’ stances on gun control.
Voting was brisk all morning at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins, the second largest voting precinct in the county.
“It’s been very busy, especially for an off year,” an election official said. “And, since there’s only two races, it’s very surprising.”
Joe Purdue, of Ivins, said he hasn’t missed a voting day for more than 60 years because “it’s the thing to do.”
“I think voting is an obligation,” said Bonnie Harrington, of Ivins. “It’s what makes our government work.”
St. George News reporters Spencer Ricks and Ryan Rees contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the preliminary Washington County election results posted on the county clerk/auditor’s website Tuesday afternoon were later removed.
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