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Voter turnout dips to near-record low during BC provincial election period

We’ve seen what could turn out to be a near-record low voter turnout for the 2020 B.C. Provincial General Election.

Elections BC estimates that just over half, or 52.4 percent, of registered voters, cast a ballot, compared to 60 percent last time.

The number could still creep up, past the previous record low of 55 percent.

But if it doesn’t, it marks the lowest voter participation in nearly a hundred years.

This is a preliminary estimate based on the following:

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  • the number of voters who voted during advance voting, in their electoral district
  • the number of voters who voted on Election Day, at their assigned voting place
  • an estimate of the number of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots, to be considered at the final count
  • an estimate of the number of completed vote-by-mail packages containing mail-in ballots, to be considered at the final count.

This also marks the first time ever that more British Columbians voted in advance than on election day.

All tolled, 670,324 people voted in their electoral district during the advance voting period, while another 546,877 voted on Election Day at their assigned voting place.

An estimated 85,000 certification envelopes containing absentee ballots will be considered for the final count. 

These ballots were cast at absentee voting opportunities during advance voting, on Election Day, and throughout the campaign period (at voting opportunities such as voting at a district electoral office or a special voting opportunity).

As of Oct. 24th, Elections BC had received roughly 525,000 mail-in ballots, though this figure does not include mail-in ballots returned by voters in-person to voting places, or district electoral offices before the 8:00pm deadline on election day. 

The preliminary estimate of voter turnout will likely increase when mail-in ballots dropped off in person are accounted for. 

 As of Sept. 26th, there were 3,485,858 registered voters in B.C.

 In the 2017 Provincial General Election, 61.18% of registered voters voted, and there were 1,986,374 valid votes. 

The number of valid votes in 2020 could be comparable, at around 1.8 million. 

However, the number of registered voters has increased since 2017, resulting in a lower percentage of registered voters voting. 

In the 2017 provincial election, there were 3,246,647 registered voters in B.C.

Elections BC will publish an updated figure for voter turnout once more accurate figures are available.

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