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As record turnout expected, hundreds of thousands of Utah women don't register to vote

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Hundreds of thousands of Utah women don’t register to vote. (KUTV)

It’s been 150 years since women in Utah earned the right to vote, but turnout numbers haven’t always been steady.

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At the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Tiffany Bowles, a museum historian, says the first election in Salt Lake saw pretty low numbers:

Not a lot of women turned out to vote. Just about 25 to 30 women voted that day.

And while the numbers have certainly gone up since the 1800s, voter turnout among women in Utah isn't what it could be, according to Salt Lake City's League of Women Voters president, Katharine Biele, who says:

There are almost 300,000 women in Utah who are eligible to vote but are not registered. This is tragic.

According to a study by the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah Valley University, Utah came in dead last for women's voter turnout in 2006, but by 2018, had jumped to 11th in the country,

County clerks credit registration initiatives and expansion of mail-in voting in the state with increasing voter turnout across the board.

In fact, in Salt Lake County- Clerk Sherrie Swenson said mail-in ballots helped the 2018 midterm election jump from voter turnout around 50% to around 80%. and turnout in 2020 may get even higher.

Biele said, "It's looking like it will be."

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And Swenson told KUTV, Salt Lake County is expecting a record turnout this year and will have more election stations than ever before for those who wish to vote in person.

She said just within the last month 6,000 more people have registered to vote in the 2020 election.