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Early data suggests historically low voter turnout in federal election

The last time voter turnout was this low was in 2008, when just over 58 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot.
Elections Canada vote sign
File photo

Despite long lines at a number of polling stations on election day, early data is suggesting voter turnout was actually near a historic low for a federal election.

According to preliminary data from Elections Canada the turnout was at least 59 per cent, which is the lowest rate in more than a decade and just above the all-time federal election low.

Some believe concerns due to the pandemic may have kept people away from polling stations and is the main reason that advance voting and mail-in ballots were so popular.

This figure will change with a million mail-in ballots still needing to be verified. Elections Canada also still needs to count ballots by those who were not registered but showed up at a polling station.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he is troubled by the apparent lack of interest in the election and says the snap election forced Elections Canada to scramble to try and make things accessible.

“I blame Mr. Trudeau,” says Singh. “He called an election without having laws in place that would have allowed us to make adjustments so that we could make sure there were easier ways to vote in a pandemic.”

Trudeau has not spoken publicly since election night and is yet to react to the low voter turnout. Liberal ministers have also been unavailable for comment.

The last time voter turnout was this low was in 2008, when just over 58 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot.

In 2019, 67 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot. The federal election in 2015 saw a voter turnout of just over 68 per cent.

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