Advance voting numbers far exceed early voting numbers from previous elections.                                Black Press file photo

Advance voting numbers far exceed early voting numbers from previous elections. Black Press file photo

Advance voting numbers up

Voters in Penticton and Boundary-Similkameen take advantage of advance voting

British Columbians took advantage of six days of advance polls, far exceeding early voting numbers from previous elections.

According to Elections BC, 614,389 of an eligible 3,156,991 eligible voters cast a ballot in advance polls.

In 2009 there were 290,220 voters who showed up to vote in advance of the actual election. The following election, in 2013 366,558 voted early.

In the Penticton riding 9,899 voters turned out to advance polls out of an eligible 43,980 registered voters.

In the Boundary-Similkameen out of 40,082 registered voters, a total of 8,782 came out place their vote at the advance polls.

Although advance voting participation appears to be up, it doesn’t indicate what’s to come, said Hamish Telford, a professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“Political parties over the last decade have made a concerted effort to push people toward advance polls,” he said. “A big get-out-the-vote effort has been made in campaigning.”

Telford explained that party members contact their supporters in advance of the actual election and prompt them to vote. Although they can’t guarantee how they vote, he said, knowing a potential supporter has gone to the polls before election days mean they can be crossed off the call list come election day.

And that’s pretty much all that happens.

“We speculated a few years ago when we saw this rise in advance polling that it would lead to higher voter turnout, but it was actually lower,” said Telford.

More than 1.6 million people voted in the BC Elections on May 14. 2013, but despite being slightly higher than the 2009 turnout, it is still a lower turnout than many hoped for.

According to data provided by Elections BC, roughly 50 to 52 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in each riding.

BC Votes 2017