Federal election 2015: Voter turnout highest in decades

October 20, 2015 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

More than 17 million Canadians cast a ballot in the country’s 42nd federal election, making for Canada’s highest voter turnout since 1993.

Turnout figures are still preliminary, and were changing well into Tuesday morning.

But at least 68.49 per cent of eligible Canadians voted in this election — more than the 61.1 per cent turnout in 2011 and the highest turnout Canada’s had in a federal election since 1993, when turnout was 69.6.

The Liberals got the lion’s share — more than 6.9 million votes, or 39.9 per cent of the popular vote.

The Conservatives received about 5.6 million votes, 31.9 per cent; the NDP received 3.4 million votes, 19.7 per cent of the popular vote.

The Green party received 600,000 votes and 3.4 per cent of the popular vote; the Bloc received about 818,000 votes, or 4.7 per cent.

This spike in turnout comes on the heels of higher-than-expected advance polling numbers: About 3.6 million people cast ballots over Thanksgiving weekend, the first time Elections Canada offered four days of advanced voting, instead of three.

And while many feared the historically long 78-day election campaign would foment political fatigue, many people were galvanized to cast ballots who hadn’t been in previous elections.

Siksika First Nation member Bryan Little Chief said he saw more people from his community voting than ever before.

Siksika briefly ran out of ballots — there are multiple reports of other First Nations polling stations running out, as well.

But despite this and reportedly long lineups at polling stations, voter turnout was up in every province and territory compared to 2011:

Prince Edward Island boasted the highest turnout, with 77.42 per cent; the Northwest Territories were lowest, with about 55.

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