Canada’s 42nd federal election seemed to spark a lot more interest and debate than there has been for the last few decades. Voter turnout has increased significantly, with a whopping 68.5 percent taking part in Monday’s polls, which is the highest voter turnout recorded since 1993.
Voters who registered before Monday cast 17,559,353 ballots. These numbers do not reflect those who registered at the polls.
After a 78-day campaign, which is the longest federal campaign in modern Canadian history, Canadians lined up at the polls Monday and cast their ballots, ending with a liberal majority and an overturn of a decade of Tory government.
In the ’90s and 2000s, there was a decrease in voter turnout especially among the youth. It seems that a lot of the driving force behind this year’s turnout was the lack of desire for another four years of conservative government, in which people took to the polls with the sentiment being ‘anyone but Harper.’
I believe this engaged a lot of the youth voters due to the fact that other parties are geared more towards them in terms of what they support and advocate. Still, it is unclear and hard to say why there was such a significant jump in voter turnout, some believing that the good weather played a role.
Regardless of the reason, the numbers have been remarkable, with British Columbia jumping from 55.9 percent in 2011 to 70 percent, and Alberta from 52.3 percent to 69 percent. The most noteworthy turnout in Canada took place in Ottawa, yielding a massive turnout of 78.4 percent.
Prior to the election, there were anti-Harper groups formed with the sole purpose of keeping Harper out of office by going to the doors of voters with polling statistics based on who would win in their riding. The aim was to inform people that if the NDP were more likely than the liberals to win in their area, it was better to vote NDP so that the conservatives had less chance of winning.
I feel as though this boosted voter engagement as well, because if people had a primary goal to keep Harper out of office, but weren’t necessarily drawn to one party over another, then any guess-work was taken out of it for them. They simply needed to vote for who was projected to win in their area. I feel this may have also been influential in boosting voter participation.