Advance turnout slumps in Alberta, Ontario byelections

Despite concerted efforts by all political parties to get out the early-bird vote before next Monday's byelections, last weekend's advance polls were more bust than boom, according to initial numbers released by Elections Canada today.

Number of advance votes drops by more than half in Alberta's Macleod riding

Both New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau were on the byelection hustings in Toronto over the weekend. Preliminary numbers suggest advance polling in four June 30 byelections is down from the 2011 election. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Despite concerted efforts by all political parties to get out the early-bird vote before next Monday's byelections, last weekend's advance polls were more bust than boom, according to initial numbers released by Elections Canada Tuesday.

Preliminary estimates reveal that voters in Trinity–Spadina, Scarborough–Agincourt, Macleod and Fort MacMurray–Athabasca cast a grand total of 16,740 ballots over three days of advance polls, which were open on June 20, 21 and 23.

That's a drop of nearly 6,000 from the 2011 federal election in those ridings, when 22,674 voters hit the local polling stations during a three-day window between April 22 and April 25.

Decline most precipitous in Macleod

Advance turnout in all four ridings decreased, but the most dramatic decline was in Macleod, where the number of advance ballots dropped by more than half — to 3,087 from 6,581.

The frenetically contested downtown Toronto riding of Trinity–Spadina, meanwhile, experienced a comparatively minor downtick to 7,172 from 7,519.

Both New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau were on the hustings in Toronto over the weekend, with appearances in both Trinity–Spadina and Scarborough–Agincourt.

Still, it's not hard to see how such dismal advance numbers could be a harbinger of similarly lacklustre attendance at the polls next Monday, when a good chunk of the potential electorate may be enjoying an extended Canada Day holiday weekend far from the madding crowd of the voting queue. 

Courtesy of Elections Canada, the full breakdown:

Electoral DistrictPreliminary number of voters
at advance polls
in current by-election

Official number of voters
at advance polls
in 41st General Election

Fort McMurray–Athabasca2,6593,423
Macleod3,0876,581
Scarborough–Agincourt3,8225,151
Trinity–Spadina7,1727,519
Total16,74022,674

About the Author

Kady O'Malley

Kady O'Malley covered Parliament Hill for CBC News until June, 2015.