Voter turnout doubles for Washington City versus previous municipal election

WASHINGTON CITY — This year’s Washington City Council race saw double the voter turnout versus the last municipal election two years ago.

Out of the city’s 13,000 registered voters, 5,263 participated in this year’s election for a voter turnout of 40.5%.

“This is the best (turnout) we’ve ever had,” Washington City Recorder Danice Bulloch told the City County Tuesday. “It’s still really low, but it’s really awesome.”

The 2017 municipal election, which included a mayoral race, drew out 21% of the voters.

Speaking with St. George News prior to the council meeting, Bulloch credited the rise in voter participation to the switch to a voting-by mail system.

While residents could choose to vote by mail prior the change in early 2018, traditional pole stations were still set up across the city for voters on election day. However, 60% of the ballots cast in the 2017 municipal election were done by mail.

The mail-in ballot dropbox at the Washington County Administration Building, St. George, Utah, November, 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

With other municipalities and counties shifting entirely to voting-by-mail and seeing a higher return because of it, Washington City also moved the make the change. Washington County adopted voting-by-mail in 2018, along with St. George earlier this year.

This year’s election saw the return of two former City Council members and a fresh face.

Former council members Kress Staheli and Kurt Ivie will be returning to the City Council. Staheli, who served on the council for a single term, did not seek reelection at the time, while Ivie, who had been appointed to his seat, did not win an election bid in 2017. Craig Coats is the council newcomer, though he has served on the city’s planning commission.

Incumbent Troy Belliston did not secure enough votes for reelection. Council members Jeff Turek and Kolene Granger, whose seats were also up for grabs this year, chose not to run again.

The final, certified results for the 2019 Washington City municipal election are as follows:

City Council – 3 seats

  • Kress Staheli – 2,790 votes, 20,87%
  • Kurt Ivie – 2,714 votes, 20.31%
  • Craig Coats – 2,541 votes, 19.02%
  • Troy Belliston – 2,287 votes, 17.11%
  • Marcia Whitney – 1,559 votes, 11.66%
  • Ben Leamon Martinsen – 1,474 votes, 11.03%

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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