Voter turnout appears to have taken a hit in pandemic provincial election

The final numbers won't be released until all mail-in ballots are factored in, but percentages at polls are lower than in previous elections.

Elections BC estimates at least 52 per cent of registered voters voted in the 2020 provincial general election — a figure likely to change as the number of mail-in ballots received for each riding will not be reported until the end of this week.

Elections BC director of communications Andrew Watson told KTW the provincial voter turnout number preliminary nd does not include mail-in ballots dropped off on Saturday, Oct. 24, in person before the 8 p.m. deadline.

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The preliminary data includes voters who cast advance ballots in their electoral district, those who voted on election day at their assigned voting place, an estimated number of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots to be considered at final count and an estimated number of completed vote-by-mail packages containing mail-in ballots to be considered at final count.

Elections BC reported on Monday (Oct. 26) that 670,324 people voted in their electoral district during advance voting and 546,877 people cast ballots on election day at their assigned voting place.

As of Oct. 24, Elections BC had received 525,000 mail-in ballots, but that figure does not include mail-in ballots returned in person before Saturday’s deadline. Elections BC said it will update its estimate of the number of mail-in ballots when a more accurate number is available. KTW has requested the number of mail-in and absentee ballots received for Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson.

“We don’t have those numbers yet,” Watson said, noting they will likely be available toward the end of the week.

KTW earlier reported Kamloops-North Thompson BC Liberal candidate Peter Milobar had noted 1,800 mail-in ballots had been received in his riding. Elections BC apparently kept campaigns updated on the number of mail-in ballots received as of Saturday morning, which Milobar told KTW was 1,800. He estimated it would be about 2,000 after everyone dropped them off by 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

Watson would not confirm those numbers, again stating the numbers will be released later this week.

Meanwhile, voter turnout so far looks relatively low — not including mail-in ballots, at about 41 per cent in Kamloops-North Thompson and 39 per cent in Kamloops-South Thompson.

KTW looked into past election voter turnout, comparing registered voters and votes cast:

• Overall provincial voter turnout:

— 2017: 61%

— 2013: 57%

— 2009: 55%

— 2005: 62%

— 2001: 71%

• Kamloops-South Thompson:

— 2017: 65%

— 2013: 62%

— 2009: 58%

— 2005: 61%

— 2001: 73%

• Kamloops-North Thompson:

— 2017: 60%

— 2013: 58%

— 2009: 55%

— 2005: 67%

— 2001: 73%

© Kamloops This Week



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