BC Election: Advance poll turnout up 28% across British Columbia

Turnout by early voters jumped 28 per cent for today's election, but that doesn't mean greater overall turnout is expected

Polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight

VICTORIA – 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.

But that election ended up with an all-time low turnout of only 51 per cent of eligible voters, confirming a trend in other jurisdictions that heavy advance voting does not indicate increased voter interest.

Elections BC 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.

Heaviest turnouts were reported in Comox Valley, Vernon-Monashee, Penticton, Saanich North and the Islands, Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Parksville-Qualicum.

Elections BC also provides 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.

Voting by mail is also an option, with voting packages available up to 4 p.m. on election day. They must be returned to a district electoral office by 8 p.m. in order to be counted.