Voter turnout in Thompson, Okanagan ridings well below the provincial average | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Voter turnout in Thompson, Okanagan ridings well below the provincial average

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October 26, 2020 - 7:30 PM

Saturday’s election saw a drop in voter turnout province-wide by seven per cent over 2017 from 61.2 per cent to an estimated 54.2 per cent this year.

Most of the seven main ridings in the Okanagan and Thompson regions showed an even greater drop in turnout.

“The standard rule of thumb that political scientists make is turnout goes up when you have a competitive election,” UBC political science professor Max Cameron told “Obviously this was not a particularly competitive election.”

That’s one of two key factors, the other being convenience.

“It’s in the middle of the pandemic,” Cameron said.

Clearly, most of the seven ridings (Penticton, Vernon-Monashee, three in Kelowna and two in Kamloops) were not competitive as the Liberal candidates led in five of them with 50 to 56 per cent of the vote on election night.

The Kamloops North riding is closer with Liberal incumbent Peter Milobar gaining 42.3 per cent of the vote versus 37.6 per cent for the NDP’s Sadie Hunter. But that’s still a difference of 791 in the number of votes.

Despite being a tighter race, turnout seems to be 5.7 per cent below the provincial average.

The tightest race is Vernon-Monashee where incumbent Eric Foster has a mere 180-vote lead over the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu. Voter turnout is an estimated 4.8 per cent below the provincial average.

The other markedly lower turnout was in Kamloops South. It was 6.3  per cent below the provincial average.

Kamloops-South was bang on the provincial average while Penticton was .7 per cent above.

These numbers are just estimates as there were 770,000 ballots mailed out to voters with 525,000 returned in time to be counted but that count won't take place for another two weeks.

READ MORE: Voter turnout in B.C. election sinks to 92-year low of 52.4 per cent

The provincial total won't be known exactly until all the mail-in and absentee ballots are validated and counted.

The number of mail-in ballots that were actually returned has not yet been broken down by riding by Elections B.C. The number of ballots mailed out were counted by riding. based its estimates of voter turnout on the provincial ratio between mailed out and returned ballots of 75 per cent.

Estimate of voter turnout:

52.4% – B.C.
53.1% - Penticton
52.4% – Kamloops South
49.6% – Kelowna-Mission
47.6% – Vernon-Monashee
46.7% – Kamloops North
46.2% – Kelowna West
46.1% – Kelowna-Lake Country

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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