A record 92 percent of Davis County voters turned out Tuesday to cast ballots, lured by hotly contested national, state and local races and the tax initiatives, election officials said.
Unofficial vote tallies show 69,376 voters cast ballots in the election, 92 percent of the 75,102 registered in the county.County Clerk Glen Saunders said an avalanche of last-minute registrations, especially in the county's northeast districts, could push the number of registered voters over 80,000.
While that figure will reduce the overall turnout percentage, it will set a new record for registered voters in the county and, most likely, the percentage that who cast ballots will still be a record.
The vote tallies were boosted by a surge of last-minute registrations and an unusually high number of absentee voters, estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000.
Saunders estimates the number of voters registered in the final three days before the election at between 5,000 and 7,000. The exact number won't be known until the names are entered into the county's registration files and tallied on the computer, he said.
Despite the large turnout, Saunders said Tuesday's election was relatively trouble-free. One minor hitch, a batch of ballots from the Layton area that was inadvertently delivered to North Salt Lake, was discovered and rectified, he said.
And, the continuing problem of voter registrars not turning in their forms in time for new voters to be added to the polling lists cropped up again, election clerk Tess Porter said.
That problem first showed up about a year ago when former county clerk Michael Allphin charged pro-tax initiative registrars with registering new voters to make them eligible to sign their petitions but not turning in the names of voters they registered who they knew or suspected opposed the petitions.
The registrars denied the accusation but lobbying by Allphin resulted in the state legislature passing a law making return of registration forms by registrars mandatory.
Numerous voters appeared at the polls last November and again this Tuesday, claiming to have registered, but their forms had not been turned back to the county.
Porter said a large group of Weber State College students, Davis County residents who signed up with a registrar on campus, did not have their forms turned back. And a registrar at the Utah State Fair in September 1987 didn't turn the forms back to the county until February, Porter said.
Saunders said overall the voting Tuesday went smoothly.