Tight race likely top reason for advance poll turnout

Elections Canada estimates 3.6 million people voted during advance polls, up 71 per cent from advance polls in 2011

Elections Canada estimates 3.6 million people voted during advance polls, up 71 per cent from advance polls in 2011.

“This is in a way potentially a good problem to have, at least if you take the classic argument that the system works better if more people are weighing in,” said Dr. Jamie Lawson, associate professor in political science at the University of Victoria.

However, “the question could be raised: Are those people who are going to vote anyway and chose to do it on Thanksgiving weekend rather than on the 19th?”

In Oak Bay, lineups at the Glenlyon Norfolk School polling station prompted calls and letters to the Oak Bay News.

Elections Canada did not return calls by deadline but responded to frustrated voters on social media that polling stations were selected and controlled by returning officers.

The high numbers, however frustrating for some voters, could be a result of many things, Lawson says.

“One thing that could mean a higher turnout for both the advance polls and the regular one on the 19th is just how tight this race is and how volatile it’s been. … It’s been difficult to figure out people’s overarching pattern,” Lawson said.

“It’s rare for three parties to be tied for so long in our country. It’s also the case that, because we’ve had a single government in power for 10 years now, people who disagree with the governing Conservatives are growing in their sense of frustration.”

Modern technology could be another reason for the uptick, as social media feeds on Thanksgiving weekend filled with voting “selfies” and updates.

“There have been a number of different strategies to raise the total vote and getting people to think about voting in a co-ordinated fashion,” Lawson said. “People have been going to the advance polls voting and then saying to their social network, ‘Hey guys, I voted, you should go vote too.’”

Convenience and the lengthy campaign period could also play a role.

“We’ve seen over the past few years concern both within Elections Canada and beyond about declining voter participation and that’s part of the reason we’ve seen a turn to advance polling as more than just the right to vote if you have an unavoidable obligation. It’s new to think about advance polls as just another way to vote without having to have an excuse offered,” he said.

“I think for people who have a choice in the matter (of when they vote) it may be a way of saying, ‘I’ve made my decision. I’m done here and no one’s going to persuade me of anything different in the next six days.’”

The numbers leave more questions than answers about what voting day will look like Oct. 19.

“There have been times when turnout election day was incompatible with the trend at the advanced polls and disappointed people. … We’ll just have to see,” he said.

“Tightness of the race is maybe an even better predictor of whether we’ll have a heavy turnout. Historically it’s often been the case that a tight race draws people out.”

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Multi-vehicle crash along the Malahat leaves traffic crawling

Southbound lane heavily delayed at Malahat Summit

PHOTO GALLERY: Phillips Backyard Weekender hits all the right notes

Local and international acts keep Victoria crowd cutting a rug

Organizer expects Saanich to file injunction against Regina Park camp

Camp Namegans leaders plan to fight injunction which could come as early as Monday

BC GAMES: Victoria athletes hit the podium

Gold, silver and bronze performances in equestrian, kayak, rowing, golf

Victoria man arrested in connection with Hillside murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Soaring temperatures, high winds could worsen fires in B.C.’s southern Interior

Environment Canada’s forecast for the next week in the southern Interior does not inspire confidence, with temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting over 40 kilometres per hour.

Iran dismisses Trump’s explosive threat to country’s leader

Trump tweeted late on Sunday that hostile threats from Iran could bring dire consequences.

Royal Canadian Navy announces leadership changes in Esquimalt

Commodore Angus Topshee new commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, naval reserve also gets new leader

Update: Police probe Toronto shooting that killed 2, injured 12; suspected gunman dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

WATCH: Iconic Langham Court keeps community involved in theatre

Rockland-based company continues building legacy after nine decades

Most Read