Skip to main content

Several dozen voters wait in a half-hour long lineup at the advance polling station at OCAD in downtown Toronto, Ont. on Monday October 12, 2015.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/J.P. MOCZULSKI

Canadians stampeded to advance polls over the long weekend, exceeding turnout in the past election's early voting window by 71 per cent.

In total, some 3.6 million people cast ballots between Friday and Monday, according to Elections Canada – a four-day spread that was a day longer than the advance polling period in 2011. Still, the turnout surge is being hailed by observers as a promising sign of interest in this federal campaign, despite a decades-long trend toward voter apathy.

"It's a great story," said Peter Loewen, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. "Overall, it's a big increase."

Story continues below advertisement

Elections Canada estimated that 850,000 people voted on Friday; 780,000 on Saturday; 767,000 on Sunday; and a full 1.2 million people on Monday.

Mr. Loewen said the spike in voting was likely driven by relatively good weather, the extra day of the long weekend and political passions flaring as families assembled for Thanksgiving.

The parties were also likely trying to drive partisans to the polls, so they could focus on winning over potential supporters in the campaign's home stretch, Mr. Loewen said.

This election is also unusually competitive, with three parties making a serious push to form government, though polls have shown the NDP in free fall since late September. The three-way race, coupled with the extraordinary length of this year's campaign – at 78 days, the longest in modern Canadian history – may have contributed to the eagerness of early voters.

Still, Mr. Loewen cautioned against expecting a breakthrough in voter turnout on Oct. 19. For one thing, he noted, advance voters would likely have voted on election day anyway. And historically in Canada, competitiveness doesn't have much impact on overall turnout.

Voter participation has been declining since the early 1990s, reaching a low point of 58.8 per cent in 2008, before rebounding slightly to 61.1 per cent in 2011. Mr. Loewen said this year's election was unlikely to witness a return to the glory days of more than 70-per-cent turnout.

"I think it may be high 60s if we're lucky," he said, before adding, "that's the kind of thing that political scientists say and then they're wrong."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter