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Voter turnout lower than 2017 provincial election

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 12:28 PDT, Tue October 27, 2020

Voting numbers are overall lower across BC than in the 2017 provincial election. 

Elections BC estimates that at least 52.4 per cent of all registered voters participated in last weekend’s provincial election. In 2017, 61.18 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot.

Richmond was slightly below the average in terms of votes cast, with about 29.46 per cent of registered voters included in Saturday’s totals. A further 19 per cent of voters requested mail-in ballots in Richmond, totalling just under 50 per cent of voters accounted for in the city.

This was a decrease of about five per cent from 2017’s voter turnout, which was about 53.68 per cent. Since the last provincial election, Richmond’s population has risen by about 14,000 registered voters, but the voter turnout—assuming most mail-in ballots requested were returned in time to be counted—was almost identical.

Preliminary estimate of voter turnout is based on:

• the number of voters who voted in their electoral district during advance voting (670,324)

• the number of voters who voted on election day at their assigned voting place (546,877)

• an estimate of the number of absentee ballots received

• an estimate of the number of vote-by-mail packages received

Absentee ballots and vote-by-mail packages are not considered until final count. Across BC, about 85,000 absentee ballots were received, and about 525,000 mail-in ballots as of Oct. 24. However, there were also additional mail-in ballots returned by voters in person to voting places or district electoral offices before the deadline on election day. Elections BC says the preliminary estimate of voter turnout will likely increase when mail-in ballots dropped off in person are accounted for. 

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