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Most unaffiliated voters didn't change in primary

Most unaffiliated voters didn't change in primary



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Few unaffiliated voters chose to register with the Republican Party so they could participate in the June 24 primary, according to the lieutenant governor's office.

About 55 percent of Utah voters are unaffiliated, although most people in the state vote Republican in the general election.

The Republican Party's primary is closed to everyone who doesn't register as a Republican. Utah Democrats leave their primary open to everyone.

The estimates from the lieutenant governor's office, which runs elections, indicate that between 0.7 percent and 3.3 percent of those who voted in last month's Republican primary were unaffiliated voters who registered as Republicans.

"It depends on which figures you use. We don't have a precise way of measuring that," said Mark Thomas, office administrator for the lieutenant governor's office.

He said figures show that 2,950 people registered as Republicans on Election Day or from June 10 to June 24 when early voting was available. That equals 3.3 percent of those who voted in the GOP primary.

Voter turnout throughout the state was considered low. Only 89,855 people voted in the GOP primary last month, or about 5.7 percent of those who would have been eligible -- Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, a Democrat, said people don't like to affiliate with any party to vote. "They do not want to affiliate with a particular party, so that has suppressed voter turnout," she said.

Until 1994, Utah voters did not register by party and could pick a ballot from any party during primary elections.

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Information from: Deseret News

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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