Manitoba

'No doubt' Manitoba snowstorm affected advance poll turnout: Elections Canada

More than 100,000 Manitobans braved blizzard-like conditions and power outages during the advanced polling period to place their ballots, Elections Canada said Friday.

In Manitoba, 115,678 people voted last weekend in advance polls, compared to 149,000 in Sask.

Southern Manitoba suffered a massive snowstorm last week, which an Elections Canada spokesperson suspects kept many voters inside and away from advance polls. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

In spite of wicked winds, a dump of wet snow and power outages across southern Manitoba, more than 100,000 people in the province cast votes at advance polls over the Thanksgiving long weekend, Elections Canada said Friday.

But the numbers likely would've been higher if it wasn't for the treacherous conditions, a spokesperson said.

"There is no doubt the storm did impact, but regardless of the storm, people did vote," said Marie-France Kenny, a regional media advisor for Elections Canada.

In Manitoba, 115,678 people voted in advance polls between Oct. 11 and 14, compared to 104,198 during the 2015 federal election campaign.

But provinces like Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick saw even bigger jumps this year.

In Saskatchewan, 149,000 advance ballots were cast — up from around 91,900 in 2015.

Nova Scotia saw 135,644 advance voters this year, compared to just under 113,500 in 2015.

And in New Brunswick, 138,700 people went to advance polls, up from about 113,000 in 2015.

More than 100,000 Manitoba voters cast their ballots in advance polls. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Kenny believes Manitoba saw a smaller jump than those provinces because of the storm.

"Polls were closed totally in some areas… I'm sure if all polls had been open we'd have way higher numbers than that," she said.

"This is quite a high number considering the storm."

While most Canadians who didn't already cast a ballot will now have to vote at their regular polling stations on Oct. 21, Elections Canada has made provisions for some other groups affected by the Manitoba storm.

A "mega-polling station" is being set up at the University of Winnipeg so evacuees from areas that are still without  power can cast their ballots.

And Elections Canada has made plans to ensure Manitoba Hydro employees working on restoring power away from their home communities will have a chance to vote.

Regular polls will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Manitoba on Monday.