Rate of voting for Utah women down, but civic engagement remains high

Oct 28, 2021, 4:08 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Fewer Utah women voted in the 2020 election than in years past, as compared to other states. And researchers said they don’t know why.

New research from Utah’s Women and Leadership Project (UWLP) shows Utah women voted more in 2018 than in 2020, compared to the rest of the nation.

“In 2018, we had risen to about 11th in the nation for women’s voting, and then two years later in last year’s election in 2020, we were 33rd in the nation,” said Dr. Susan Madsen, UWLP founder and one of three report authors.

According to the research, Utah had a 66.6 percent female turnout in 2020, which was higher (60.5%) than in 2018. But from the 2018 election to the 2020 election, Utah’s ranking among the states for women voting fell from 11th to 33rd. 

Madsen said researchers don’t know why.

“We’re hoping that it was just a little drop,” she said.

Civic engagement is high

Interestingly, their research shows 2020 was a high year for civic engagement, with more women running for office than ever in 2020.

“2020 was a record-setting year for women running for office in both the U.S. and Utah, and while Utah has no women serving in U.S. Congress, multiple Utah women are running for a national Senate seat in 2021,” said Robbyn Scribner, one of the report’s authors. “Research shows that when women decide to run for office, they are elected at the same rate as men, which is great news.”

Female voting priorities

According to the 2020 Utah Foundation survey of citizens’ priorities included in the report, the Top 10 policy issues for Utah female voters included:

  1.  K–12 education,
  2.  healthcare costs/access,
  3.  state taxes and governmental spending,
  4.  jobs and the economy,
  5.  public health/COVID-19 pandemic,
  6.  housing affordability,
  7.  politicians listening to voters,
  8. police support/reform,
  9. managing growth and
  10. racial inequality or racism.

Volunteering in Utah is also high
In addition to voting and advocating for public policy, volunteer work is another area researchers looked at residents’ involvement.

“For the past 14 years in a row, Utah ranked first in the nation for percentage of residents who regularly volunteer at 51%. This is a full 20 points higher than the national average of 30.3%,” said Scribner.

More work to do for gender equality in Utah

A 2021 UWLP research report on the status of women in Utah politics shows that Utah women remain underrepresented in statewide elected office, the state Legislature, county commissions, mayoral offices and city councils.

Read the full report here.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The herd of about 80 elk have been traversing between Parley's Canyon and a golf course near I-215 ...
Brooke Williams

Elk herd returns to SLC golf course after multiple relocation attempts

The herd of about 80 elk have been traversing between Parley's Canyon and a golf course near I-215 and Foothill Blvd in Salt Lake City.
8 hours ago
Jerry Warren, the Long-time Director of Mountain Operations at Sundance Resort, is retiring from hi...
Allessandra Harris

Sundance Mountain Resort tenured Director of Mountain Operations restires, legacy lives on

Sundance Mountain Resort recently announced the retirement of its tenured Director of Mountain Operations, Jerry Warren.
8 hours ago
FILE (Getty Images)...
Amie Schaeffer

Lake effect snow causes school delays in northern Utah

Lake effect snow came down hard in northern Utah. The weather prompted several school districts to opt for delayed start.
8 hours ago
Passengers pick up their bags at baggage claim at the new Salt Lake City International Airport in S...

SLC Airport suggests arriving early ahead of Spring Break travel

Salt Lake City airport officials say the travel numbers during the spring break period could be on par with pre-pandemic levels.
8 hours ago
"Society pits homeschooling and public schooling against each other, and it's a farce," said Kimber...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Public and homeschool teachers are on the same side

Homeschool and public school teaching are often pitted against each other. But they may have more in common than you think.
8 hours ago
A police officer with the Sandy Police Department was involved in a fatal shooting early Sunday mor...
Devin Oldroyd

Sandy Police officer involved in fatal shooting

A police officer with the Sandy Police Department was involved in a fatal shooting early Sunday morning.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Rate of voting for Utah women down, but civic engagement remains high