With advance polls open for four days and a push by political parties to use them, turnout by early voters jumped 28 per cent for today’s election, compared to the 2009 B.C. election.
Elections B.C. reports that 380,741 votes were cast in advance polls at the 85 constituencies around B.C. That’s about 12 per cent of the more than three million people eligible to vote in the province.
In Maple Ridge-Mission, 3,882 of the 37,982 registered voters casts their ballots in advance, compared to 2,826 in 2009.
More voters took advantage of advance polls in neighbouring Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, with 5,004 of the 39,378 registered voters casting their ballots, compared to 3,994 in the previous election.
Heaviest turnouts were reported in Comox Valley, Vernon-Monashee, Penticton, Saanich North and the Islands, Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Parksville-Qualicum.
Elections B.C. also provided for absentee voting, where any eligible voter can vote at any polling location by writing the name of their preferred candidate on a blank ballot.
In Comox, voters were able to cast the votes via drive-through.
“Ensuring British Columbians have access to voting is of utmost importance,” said Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer. “This innovative approach to assisting voters is another way Elections B.C. makes the provincial electoral process effective, efficient and accessible.”
Elections B.C. hopes the array of voting options boosts participation which was dismal during the last provincial election in 2009 when B.C. saw an all-time low turnout of only 51 per cent of eligible voters.
– with files from Black Press