British Columbia

B.C. votes 2017: advance polls see high turnout

After six days of advance polls for the 2017 provincial election, nearly 20 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots, an significant increase over 2013.

Large advance poll numbers don't necessarily translate into higher overall turnout, warns political scientist

B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled for Saturday, October 16, 2021 but that could change if the government decides to call an election earlier. (CBC)

Just under 20 per cent of eligible voters in B.C. cast their ballot at an advance poll for the 2017 provincial election.

Elections B.C. says 614,389 out of 3,156,991 eligible voters participated in the six days of advance polls that were offered from April 29 to May 6.

That's a 62 per cent increase from the 2013 election, when 380,741 people voted in four days of advance voting.

Political scientist David Moscrop says when there are more days for advance voting people take advantage of them.

Moscrop says he's not surprised by that and says early voters are habitual voters.

"Those who are voting early are the ones who would have voted on election day anyway," he said. "So it's not like there's a flood of new voters necessarily. It's the same old folks doing it earlier."

Advance voting in B.C. has been tracked by Elections B.C. since 1996. Participation has increased for each election.

Get out the vote

Many voters at advance polls told CBC News they were there to get voting out of the way and to avoid longer waits on election day.

Now Moscrop says the parties can work hard on election day to usher those who haven't voted yet to the ballot box.

Many voters say they like voting in advance polls to avoid long waits on election day. (CBC)

"The get-out-the-vote efforts are always important and, in what's perceived as a tight race, it's going to be the absolute focus," he said.

General voting on Tuesday May 9, begins at 8 a.m. PT and goes until 8 p.m. at these locations.

with files from Brenna Rose.