Through the day bouts of silence were rarely interrupted by phone calls and polling locations around Salt Lake county remained relatively slow.

Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk said that turn-out rates were likely below 10 percent, and could be the lowest they have ever seen. Even after including absentee and early-voters numbers into the primary day mix, voter turnout may only be between 6 and 8 percent, she said.

While Swensen was expecting these numbers, she said that it doesn't make them any less disconcerting.

"We go to a lot of work and expense during elections," Swensen said. "It's disappointing because we'd hope people would want to participate."

In Davis, County Clerk Steve Rawlings was receiving similar percentages.

"We were expecting a better turnout then it will actually be," Rawlings said. "The numbers aren't anywhere near what we'd hoped for."

And it's not because the information wasn't available to voters, both Rawlings and Swensen said. In both areas registered voters received post-cards that informed residents about their polling locations, early voting and absentee voting. Swensen said that information on polling locations was also reported in newspapers and available online at Utah.gov.

"People have been informed, they just chose not to participate," Swensen said. "Between our efforts and the media, people knew there was a primary, and they just made the decision to not participate in it."

Since the primaries began being held in June instead of September, a change made in 2000, voter turnout has been on a decline during the primaries.

"Unfortunately, voter turnout has been very low and we won't know any official information until tomorrow," said Spencer Hadley, special assistant to the lieutenant governor.

Both Swensen and Rawling are expecting a very different situation in November though. Rawlings is preparing his staff to accommodate voter turnout rates as at 90 percent he said.


E-mail: cnorlen@desnews.com