The following post is adapted from the Research Snapshot Voting and Civic Engagement Among Utah Women, published October 3, 2016. To see all referenced sources please view the full Snapshot on our website.
Over the past 30 years, Utah women’s voting participation has been steadily decreasing, and their ranking versus women nationally is also on the decline.
Utah has a strong history of women’s political and civic involvement. The state was an early leader in giving women the vote, was home to the first female state senator in the nation, 1 and, as recently as 1996, had the strongest women’s voter participation in the United States. However, these factors do not give the full picture, and in 2015 the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked Utah dead last in the area of political participation.
Women Voters in Utah
In Utah, although women’s voter registration and turnout rates are slightly higher than those of Utah men, they are currently lower than women’s rates in the nation as a whole. In the most recent presidential election year (2012), voter turnout among all women in Utah (not just eligible voters) was approximately 54%, compared to 58.5% for women nationally.
Utah Women’s Policy Priorities
According to a 2016 survey by the Utah Foundation, women in Utah are most concerned about social issues such as homelessness, poverty, crime, and the environment. Specifically, the top ten policy issues for Utah women voters are as follows:
1) K-12 education
3) Air quality
4) State taxes and government spending
6) Homelessness and poverty
7) Water supply and quality
8) Jobs and the economy
9) The environment
10) Partisan politics
Utah women are heavily involved in volunteer work; Utah ranks first in the U.S. (by a large margin) for percentage of residents who regularly volunteer. While we were unable to locate data that specifically reports on Utah women’s volunteering, we know that across the nation, women’s volunteer rates are 6% percentage points higher than men’s (27.8% vs. 21.8%).
Read the full Snapshot Voting and Civic Engagement Among Utah Women