Voter turnout for the 42nd provincial general election seems to be down in the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale, and across B.C., compared with 2017.
Approximately 15,785 votes were cast on election night. Add that to the roughly 10,000 mail-in ballots yet-to-be counted and voter turnout in Surrey-Cloverdale could be 57.1 per cent. If that number holds, it would be down from 2017 when voter turnout was approximately five per cent higher at 61.84 per cent. In 2017 there were 40,828 registered voters in the riding and in 2020 that number climbed to 45,193.
Across the province, Elections B.C. reports there were 3.49 million registered voters for the 2020 election, and preliminary results show 1.21 million cast ballots at polling places on Oct. 24. By election day, another 525,000 mail-in voting packages had been received, either by mail or dropped off, out of a record 724,279 packages requested by voters. An additional 85,000 people cast absentee ballots, indicating a turnout of about 52.4 per cent.
Voter turnout in 2020 is slightly higher than 2009 when turnout was just 50.99 per cent. (In 2017, voter turnout across the province was 61.18 per cent.)
Exact numbers won’t be known until after Nov. 6 when all mail-in ballots will start to be tallied.
Advance voting turnout in Surrey-Cloverdale was up in 2020 from 2017. Three years ago advance voters cast 7,176 early ballots. In 2020, that number climbed by more than 1,000 as 8,266 voters cast advance ballots in 2020.
The biggest change from 2017 to 2020 seems to be mainly due to the pandemic as mail-in ballots skyrocketed. In 2017, only 58 mail-in ballots were cast in Surrey-Cloverdale. Elections B.C. said approximately 10,000 mail-in ballots were issued for the riding in 2020. As a percentage of ballots for Surrey-Cloverdale, mail-in ballots shot up from 0.2 per cent in 2017 to 38.8 per cent in 2020.
Elections B.C. said mail-in ballots across British Columbia represented a 7,200 per cent increase in 2020 over 2017.
—with files from Tom Fletcher.