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2020 voter turnout second highest in B.C.’s history

53.93 per cent turnout in North Island riding
Three electoral areas of the northern part of Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy Elections BC

Elections B.C. have released detailed voter turn out data from the Oct. 24 election, when an unprecedented number of voters cast their ballots by mail.

“This was the first provincial election in B.C. held during a pandemic, and the province’s first unscheduled election since 2001,” says a release from Elections BC. “Necessary health and safety protocols, an unscheduled election call, and an unprecedented increase in voting by mail all made this election unlike any other administered by Elections BC.”

In all, 1,898,553 voters voted in the election, which is the second highest number in the province’s electoral history. That represents 53.9 per cent of eligible voters. The highest was in 2017, when 61.2 per cent of voters turned up.

“Voting in person was markedly different from past elections as well,” says the release. “Elections BC encouraged voters to vote at advance voting, to reduce crowds and lineups at voting places and help ensure physical distancing. For the first time, more voters voted before election day than on election day.”

Voter turnout by voting opportunity broke down as follows:

· 35.4 per cent voted at advance voting

· 31.4 per cent voted by mail

· 28.8 per cent voted at their assigned voting place on General Voting Day

· 4.4 per cent voted at other absentee voting opportunities

In the North Island electoral district 24,660 people voted, or roughly 53.93 per cent of those eligible. Final vote tallies were 12,467 for the NDP, 5,904 for BC Liberals, 4,731 for the Green Party and 1,462 for the Conservative Party. Only 96 ballots were rejected in the electoral district, leaving 24,564 valid ballots.

Numbers were a bit higher in the Courtenay-Comox electoral area, with 29,186 people voting, or 61.46 per cent. The NDP received 14,663 votes, 8,655 for the BC Liberals, 5,681 for the Green Party. No candidate ran for the Conservatives. One hundred and eighty seven ballots were rejected, leaving 28,999 valid ballots counted.

Mid Island-Pacific Rim, which includes Cumberland, had 24,822 voters, or 54.45 per cent. Per party numbers were: 14,298 for NDP, 4,291 for BC Liberals and 4,991 for the Green Party and 980 for other candidates. Of those ballots, 262 were rejected, leaving 24,560 valid ballots.

The full report of the Chief Electoral Officer is available online.

RELATED: B.C. VOTES 2020 MAP: Provincial election results, riding by riding

Almost 7,000 mail-in ballots returned so far in North Island district

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