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Advance voting turnout is high, which could be a bad sign for Trudeau’s Liberals

Voter turnout has seen a 29 percent larger turnout than numbers recorded at the same time during the 2015 federal election, says Elections Canada.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Advance voter turnout has seen a 29 percent larger turnout than numbers recorded at the same time during the 2015 federal election, says Elections Canada.

The figures show that roughly 4.7 million Canadians checked their ballots nationwide over the weekend. Only 3.6 million Canadians had cast their ballots during that same span over 2015’s federal election.

“More and more, Canadians are taking advantage of early voting opportunities to cast their ballots,” Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perrault said in a news release. “I want to thank returning officers for their careful planning and the thousands of election workers who made that possible.”

With advance voter turnout being as high as it is, we can still only speculate as to if overall voter turnout will surpass the 2015’s numbers.

The 2015 election saw more people head to the poll booths than the six prior elections with voter turnout rising sharply in 2015 to 68.5 percent of eligible voters, the highest turnout since 1993.

This time around, high voter turnout could be seen as a sign of potential trouble for the incumbent Trudeau government, though.

Take for example the last three provincial elections in Ontario. During the 2011 Ontarian election, fewer than half of all eligible Ontarians cast their ballots and the incumbent Liberals returned to power. Voter turnout again was low in 2014, as Liberals stayed in office, this time with Wynne as their leader.

When 2018 rolled around, voter turnout was at its highest in nearly 20 years, resulting in Liberal defeat and a Conservative majority government in the province.

Since Canadian Confederation, governing parties get re-elected at the federal level more frequently when voter turnout is at its lowest. Previous elections show that nearly two-thirds of cases abide by this pattern, and according to The Globe and Mail, voter turnout drops by 0.8 percent when voters return a federal government to power.

“In the nine elections with drops in turnout of 5 percent or more, the government was re-elected six times. And in only two of the elections since 1926 with a drop in turnout did the incumbent government not come out victorious.”

Though not a rule that is set in stone, history indicates that high voter turnout is a problem worth worrying about for sitting governments, and high advanced numbers could be an indicator that power could change hands in next week’s election.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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