British Columbia

Big jump in voter turnout for young people in 2017 election

More than one in two registered voters under the age of 45 cast a ballot in last year's provincial election.

Overall turnout rose from 57 to 61% of registered voters, mostly due to people under the age of 45

Young British Columbians posted the highest increase in voter turnout in the 2017 provincial election. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Sixty-one percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2017 B.C. election,  according to the final report by Election B.C.'s chief electoral officer.

The increase in turnout was largely due to greater percentages of younger voters casting ballots: 51.7 per cent of registered voters under 45 voted, up from 45.1 per cent in 2013. 

The percentage of registered voters over 45 who cast a ballot continued to remain high — from 65 per cent in 2013 to  67 per cent in 2017.

Turnout in B.C. elections from 1983 to 2017. (Elections BC)

"That's progress," said UBC professor Paul Kershaw, whose group Generation Squeeze raises awareness about the economic pressure faced by younger Canadians.

"It's still frustrating that we're well below those that are over 45, and everyone who doesn't vote needs to look in the  mirror and understand that parties respond to people that show up ... but it's progress."

Kershaw said the results would be helpful when lobbying provincial politicians to adopt policies that benefit younger British Columbians

Advanced voting way up

The other significant trend in the 2017 election was the continued rise of advance voting. 

In total, 599,225 votes were cast at advanced stations in 2017, over 220,000 more than in 2013. Overall, advanced voters comprised 30.2 per cent of voters in the election, with the most advanced votes cast on May 6, the final day available.

Advanced turnout in B.C. elections has sharply risen over the last two decades. (Elections BC)

Overall, Elections B.C. spent $39.5 million on the election or about $12.15 per registered voter. 

The 2017 B.C. election on May 9 ended up being the closest in provincial history, with the NDP coming to power two months after voting had concluded