By Megan Roth
Despite a new record being set during the five days of advance polling, Elections Saskatchewan is reporting only 56.8 per cent of registered voters came out to vote for their next provincial leader on election day.
Each day of the advance polls saw an increase in voter turn out when compared to the last election in 2011. The first day of advance polls saw an increase of 8,519 voters, or 53 per cent. This trend continued throughout the week, even rising to 93 per cent higher than in 2011 on day four of the polls. Day four of the advance polls, Friday, April 1, saw 23,133 people make their way to the polling stations, that is an increase of 10,159 votes cast compared to the same day in the 2011 election.
“With recent changes to legislation, this has been Saskatchewan’s first general election in which advance voting has been available to all eligible voters solely for their convenience,” said Dr. Michael Boda, chief electoral officer of Saskatchewan in an Election Saskatchewan press release.
Elections Saskatchewan estimates 110,716 people voted in the advance polls. Nearly a quarter of all the votes cast.
The enthusiasm at the advance polls were not echoed at the polls on election day April 4.
There was an estimated 750,893 registered voters on election day. Elections Saskatchewan is reporting only 426,706 of registered voters came out to the polls to cast their vote. There was an estimated 815,000 people in Saskatchewan eligible to vote in the election.
“The number of people voting in provincial elections has been dropping consistently for the past 30 years,” said Boda.
Despite the dropping provincial votes on election days the 2011 election boasted an official number of 67 per cent of voters casting their ballots on election day. Boda explains only 51 per cent of voters eligible to vote in 2011 actually did.
The 2016 election had an official turnout of 56.8 per cent the lowest official number since 1995 when the numbers stated a turnout of 64.6 per cent.
The Saskatchewan voters who came out Monday voted overwhelmingly in support of Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party earning 50 out of the 61 available seats.