The federal election campaign winds down Monday

Election 2015: Voter turnout up all around

Increase of 50 per cent in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge.

Advance voting is up by 47 per cent Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge this federal election compared to the one in 2011, despite the riding being smaller.

Elections Canada released its numbers Wednesday from the Thanksgiving long weekend, when people had four days of advance voting prior to election day, Monday, Oct. 19.

In all, 9,171 advance ballots were cast last weekend in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.

In 2011, 6,247 votes were cast in the riding, which then included Mission, with 18,000 more voters.

At the Liberal campaign office, the focus is on turning what’s traditionally been a two-way competition between the Conservatives and NDP into a three-way race.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback. There’s a real appetite for change and I think we’re seeing that definitely,” said Nicole Nouch, campaign manager for Dan Ruimy.

“I think people are very excited about this election, you can see it in the advance polls, the amount of people coming out and they really want to have their voices heard.”

To have a chance at winning, the Liberals would have to increase, by 10 times, the number of votes they earned in the last election.

Both the NDP and the Conservatives were able to get their national leaders, Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper, to visit the riding, showing that it’s a close race between the two. Even B.C. NDP MLA John Horgan came out to support D’Eith.

Nouch said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau may make one more visit to B.C., but it’s not certain if he’ll stop here.

Green candidate Peter Tam agreed it’s been an emotional election. A woman told him on the weekend she tried four times to vote in the advance polls, but couldn’t because of the long lineups.

“But that doesn’t deter them. They’re going to try again.”

And he concedes it is a two-way race between the Conservatives and NDP locally.

Tam added that many Greens are voting NDP.

“If there is proportional representation, the Green party is pretty much the second choice.”

If the election results in a minority government, where no one party has an absolute voting majority in the House of Commons, there could be another election soon after, Tam added.

Advance poll numbers have jumped nationwide, partly because people had four days to vote early instead of the previous three.

Elections Canada said 3.6 million people voted at advance polls last weekend, a 71-per-cent increase from the 2011 election.

More than 850,000 Canadians voted on Friday and more than 1.2 million on Monday, representing the two busiest days of advance voting ever, Elections Canada said in a release.

“Many Canadians chose to vote at advance polls in this election,” said chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand. “Having four polling days provided greater flexibility and convenience for voters.”

In B.C., the total number of advance ballots almost doubled to 507,920.


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