Political parties push vote by mail to increase voter turnout

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Voter turnout tends to be low here in Utah, but counties across the state are seeing a big boost with mail in ballots.

That trend has caught the eye of both major political parties.

Utah republicans are going door to door with applications to encourage registered party members to opt for this more convenient form of making their voices heard.

"We generate the forms, completely ready, so all they have to do is go to the door, explain the situation to them, they sign the form and we're off to the next door," said Director of Vote by Mail Operations for the Republican Party, Rick Votaw.

Volunteers can complete that process in less than a minute.

The concept is simple, the more people they get onboard the more they will see participate.

"If you're a republican and you’re already registered as a republican and you have a vote by mail, 90% of the time they'll actually return the ballot," said Votaw.

Utah democrats have a similar focus.

"A voter who has a 50/50 chance to turn out and vote, if you register them to vote by mail it bumps them up to 75% chance to turn out to vote," said Executive Director of the Utah Democratic Party, Matt Lyon.

In June's primary election less than 10% of registered voters in Salt Lake County turned out, but 33% of the ballots mailed out were returned.

Davis County was one of seven counties across the state to go with an all mail in election.

They say 27% of the ballots returned, the biggest turnout ever according to the election director.

Both parties say those numbers equal success in November.

"We know higher turnout in elections in Utah means that democrats do better, lower turnout means republicans win,” said Lyon.

"If you can get more of your people out to vote, that's how you win races," said Votaw.

The state is looking into other voter options as well.

Tuesday, the Lt. Governor's Office announced an i-Vote Committee.

It will look into options for expanding electronic voting in our state.

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