Voter turnout for the St. John's election is expected to be low but it's not as low as the City of St. John's has led many to believe.

Numbers given to CBC News on Tuesday showed voter turnout up to that point was at rock bottom compared with the last municipal election, but the numbers provided by the city were problematic — they compared apples and oranges.

The city said 14 per cent of ballots from all eligible voters had been returned that day, compared with 44 per cent at the same point in the 2013 election.


St. John's city hall on the last day of summer 2017. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

What wasn't said was that 44 per cent was a percentage of all the people who voted that year. Of course, not every eligible voter votes. So, In fact, that 44 per cent equalled just 23 per cent of all eligible voters in 2013.

'Things have improved dramatically.' - Dennis O'Keefe

So here's the real breakdown CBC was looking for — on Tuesday, 14 per cent of eligible voters had mailed in their ballots. That's down from 23 per cent in 2013. 

Lower … but not as bad as residents were led to believe

Ballot count rising

On Friday the mayor said the gap is closing.

"Things have improved dramatically over the last two or three days. We had a big surge Thursday; we had about 10,000 votes come in. So we are up to about 33.4 per cent of those eligible to vote have voted," said Dennis O'Keefe.


St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe says turnout has improved since the city warned voter turnout so far had been very low. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Better, but still lower than the 40 per cent of all eligible voter ballots that had been returned at this point in 2013. Voter turnout was low in 2013 and it's still on track to be even lower this year.

"You know we have a real problem in this province of apathy when it comes to municipal elections," said Bob Hallett, St. John's resident and outspoken critic of city council.


The deadline to mail in ballots by Canada Post is Sept. 22. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Sept. 22 is the deadline for mailing ballots through Canada Post.

St. John's residents can still drop off their ballots at the box in front of city hall and they can also vote in person on election day, Sept. 26.

Further details are available on the city's website.