Voter turnout has been increasing since it hit a historic low in 2008. (Elections Canada image)

Voter turnout in elections rising, data shows

If Canadians keep up their voting patterns seen since 2008, more people will cast ballots in the 43rd federal election next week.

Voter turnout has been on an upward trend after it hit a historic low of 58.8 per cent in the 2008 election, according to Elections Canada data.

The rate climbed to 61.1 per cent in 2011 and 68.3 per cent in 2015.

In the Skeena-Bulkley Valley electoral district, which includes Burns Lake and comprises almost the entire northwest quarter of British Columbia the voter turnout has risen slightly since 2006 when 63.13 per cent of voters cast ballots, according to Statistics Canada.

The rate fell to 56.51 per cent in 2008, then climbed to 58.86 per cent in 2011 and rose even higher to 69.76 in 2015.

Also on the rise is the turnout of Indigenous voters, who make up about 33 per cent of the population of Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

Canada-wide, the turnout for on-reserve voters has risen from 40.3 per cent in 2004 to 61.5 per cent in 2015.

In B.C. the on-reserve turnout was 67 per cent in the 2015 election, the third highest rate in the country, with Prince Edward Island in first at 73.6 per cent and Saskatchewan closely ahead of B.C. at 67.1 per cent.

For Indigenous people living off-reserve – including First Nations, Métis and Inuit – the turnout climbed from 53 per cent in 2011 to 68 per cent in 2015.

British Columbia, the country’s third most populous province, had a turnout rate of 70 per cent in the 2015 federal election, according to data from the Conference Board of Canada think tank.

READ MORE: Voter Turnout

That rate put the westernmost province in fifth place for turnout, with P.E.I. having the highest turnout at 77.4 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador having the lowest at 61 per cent.

B.C. is closer to the top when it comes to voters aged 18-24, and in the 2015 poll 63.9 per cent of youth cast ballots, the second highest rate in Canada, behind New Brunswick where 65.2 per cent voted.

Nationwide, the youth turnout rose from 38.8 per cent in 2011 to 57.1 per cent in 2015, however that age bracket had the lowest turnout in the last election.

Across the country turnout is highest among voters aged 65-74 and in 2011 75.1 per cent of those voters went to ballot boxes, and 78.8 per cent voted in 2015.

Since 1945, the highest voter turnout rate was recorded in 1958 when 79.4 per cent of voters cast ballots. The rate fluctuated as part of a downtrend trend until it reached its lowest level in 2008.

For voters who are not yet signed up to vote visit the Online Voter Registration Service, call 1-800-463-6868 or go to Island Gospel Fellowship to register before Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. Advance voting is also available at Island Gospel Fellowship until Oct. 14 at 9 p.m.

To vote you must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on election day, and be able to prove your identity and address.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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