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Voter turnout low in Langley ridings, across Canada

From a recent high point in 2015, voter participation is slipping again
A mail-in ballot for the 2021 federal election. About a million people voted by mail in this election. (Black Press Media files)

Voter turnout has declined steadily over the last three federal elections in Langley-area ridings, according to data from Elections Canada.

In Cloverdale-Langley City, just 60.45 per cent of electors voted in the recent election, with a total of 53,305 ballots cast.

Elections Canada notes that people who registered to vote on elections day are not counted as part of the turnout numbers, but the majority of people casting a ballot were already registered in advance.

In 2015, the turnout rate was 69.3 per cent, in 2019, it was 64.5 per cent.

In Langley-Aldergrove, turnout this year was 64.71 per cent., with 62,657 ballots marked.

In 2015, voter turnout hit a high of 72.3 per cent. In 2019, turnout declined to 68.2 per cent.

Nationally, the story was similar. In 2021, voter turnout was just over 62 per cent, with 99.98 per cent of polls reporting across the country.

Although voter turnout has been falling in recent years, it is dropping from a recent, relatively high level reached in the 2015 election.

The national turnout rate of 68.5 per cent in 2015 was the highest seen since the early 1990s. The lowest point was 58.8 per cent in 2008.

Voter turnout through most of Canada’s history has ranged from the low 60s to the high 70s. Turnout was particularly high from the late 1950s through to the late 1970s.

One of the biggest changes in this election was the high number of mail-in ballots.

In past elections, mail-in ballots have accounted for only a small number of the total, but this year 1.2 million people requested a mail-in ballot, and about one million of those were cast. The remainder were returned too late to be counted, or not at all.

READ MORE: 1 in 6 mail-in ballots not returned in time to be counted

The popularity of advance polls continued to rise, with an increase of 13 per cent in B.C. since 2019. There were four days of advance polling, from the Friday to Monday the week before the main election day.

Over four days of advance voting, preliminary numbers show that 804,116 British Columbians cast their ballot, up from 710,107 in 2019. Nationwide, 5.8 million Canadians cast their ballot, an 18.5 per cent increase from the 2019 election.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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