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Voters enter the polling station at St. Rita Catholic School, in Toronto, on Oct. 21, 2019.

Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press

Roughly 66 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in Monday’s federal election, an anticlimactic turnout after a record-breaking attendance at advance polls.

More than 27 million Canadians were eligible to vote in this election, including long-term expats living abroad thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. About 17.9 million Canadians voted this year, according to Elections Canada’s count with more than 98 per cent of polls reporting. That translates to 65.95 per cent of eligible voters, but that does not include people who registered on election day.

In 2015, more than 17.7 million Canadians (68.3 per cent of eligible voters) cast ballots, up from 14.8-million (61.1 per cent) in 2011 and the highest in almost a quarter of a century. The lowest turnout was just one election earlier, in 2008, when 58.8 per cent of voters turned out.

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Advance turnout this time around was roughly 4.7 million – a 29 per cent increase over the record set in 2015, and a surge that experts largely attributed to logistical changes that made it easier to vote. Hours at advance polling stations were increased this year, giving voters a 12-hour stretch for the first time each day to cast their ballots over the Thanksgiving long weekend. The number of advanced polling stations also increased to 6,135, up from just under 5,000 in 2015.

Richard Johnston, a political-science professor at the University of British Columbia and research chair in public opinion, elections and representation, stressed that it is difficult to deduce much from advance poll statistics. Those voters tend to be highly engaged people who have gone through the process before and will likely vote regardless. “They’re really just taking advantage of a convenience premium,” Prof. Johnston said.

As more information becomes available about who voted, a key thing to watch for Lydia Miljan, an associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor, will be the youth turnout – and specifically, how effective the Liberals were in holding on to the millions of votes that Justin Trudeau secured in 2015.

In that election, turnout among young people 18 to 24 jumped from 38.8 to 57.1 per cent. It also jumped 12 percentage points among those 25 to 34 (with the bulk of those votes going to the Liberals, according to exit polling).

While millions of young people took part in recent climate marches across the country, both professors were anxious to see a breakdown of Monday’s voter demographics to gauge whether that momentum actually translated into votes.

Election 2019: Interactive map and results

Traditionally, Prof. Johnston said, younger people don’t vote in large numbers.

“Turnout is lower in younger people,” he said. "That’s not a generational phenomenon, it’s a life-cycle phenomenon. Older folks have just accumulated more of the stuff that gets them to the polls, including fixed addresses, landlines – things that enable them to be contacted. That’s just a fact. It says nothing about ‘kids these days.’”

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Aaron Myran, the executive director of Future Majority, was on the front lines of rallying that youth vote this election campaign. His organization visited 21 university campuses in key ridings across the country, and walked between 24,000 and 26,000 students to cast their votes at advance polls over Thanksgiving weekend.

“This was all about demonstrating that … these parties need to prioritize what young Canadians care about. Otherwise you’re not going to be taken seriously,” Mr. Myran said Sunday afternoon. “And that’s what this election has been about.”

Prof. Johnston said he has been impressed by the on-campus efforts this year. The effectiveness of that mobilization, he said, will be a take-away.

“I think it’s all in the right spirit, and the players are incorporating real information,” he said. “But I think we’re still wrapping our heads around the [low youth turnout] problem.”

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019

2015 FEDERAL

ELECTION RESULTS

SEATS WON

184

LIB

99

CON

44

NDP

10

BLOC

1

GREEN

2019 FEDERAL

ELECTION RESULTS

As of 6:30 a.m. ET

SEATS WON

157

LIB

121

CON

32

BLOC

24

NDP

3

GREEN

1

OTHERS

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019

2015 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS

SEATS WON

184

LIB

99

CON

44

NDP

10

BLOC

1

GREEN

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS

As of 6:30 a.m. ET

SEATS WON

157

LIB

121

CON

32

BLOC

24

NDP

3

GREEN

1

OTHERS

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019

SEATS WON

2015 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS

184

LIB

99

CON

44

NDP

10

BLOC

1

GREEN

SEATS WON

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS

As of 6:30 a.m. ET

157

LIB

121

CON

32

BLOC

24

NDP

3

GREEN

1

OTHERS

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