Canada elections: 18.5% rise in advance voting
Ahead of federal elections on September 20, Canadians have started to vote, with a nearly 18.5% increase in advance voting figures over 2019, and almost 1 million mail-in ballots being requisitioned, a twenty-fold rise.
As the period for advance voting, which was from Friday morning to Tuesday morning expired, Elections Canada estimated that 5.78 million voters have utilised that opportunity, an increase of 18.46% over that recorded in October 2019, when the last federal elections were held. The expanded options were introduced by Elections Canada due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and were particularly important as the fourth wave continues in the country.
In a release, chief electoral officer Stéphane Perrault said, “I want to thank the electors who took advantage of advance polls for their patience and their help in making this a safe experience for everyone. I also want to thank the tens of thousands of election workers for making this possible.”
The outlet Global News also reported that as the deadline ended on Tuesday, approximately 1.03 million Canadians registered for special mail-in ballots. That does not include over 50,000 Canadians abroad who are using that path to vote overseas.
While Elections Canada had originally expected between two and five million voters to seek mail-in ballots, the actual figure is lower but several times the 50,000 mark from 2019.
Turnout could be the critical component of the result of the snap elections called by incumbent Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Party Justin Trudeau on August 15. His party fell 13 seats short of the 170-majority mark in the House of Commons in 2019. This call was a gamble to convert that minority into a majority, but according to the latest polls, the margins between the Liberals and the principal opposition Conservative Party are so narrow that the result of the elections could be unpredictable.
The tracker 338 Canada projected that the Liberals could get 146 seats, 11 fewer than in 2019 and the Conservatives 126, an addition of five. The Liberals have the slimmest of leads in overall vote share, at 32% against 31.7% for the Conservatives. The poll tracker from the outlet CBC News gives the ruling party just a 16% chance of getting a majority.
The turnout was 67% in 2019, a fall of 1.3 per cent from 2015, when Trudeau garnered a majority.