N.W.T. votes 2015 | 43 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots

Data released Tuesday by Elections NWT shows that just 43.59 per cent of eligible voters in the territory cast ballots in Monday's election, a further drop from record low numbers seen in 2011.

Only 4 constituencies see turnout percentage improve from 2011

A lone voter heads to the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to cast his ballot November 23. Voter turnout for the territorial election reached historic lows across the N.W.T., just topping 43 per cent. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Data released Tuesday by Elections NWT shows that just 43.59 per cent of eligible voters in the territory cast ballots in Monday's election, a further drop from the record low numbers seen in 2011.

In 2011, just over 48 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots. That number was the lowest in the territory since at least 1954, the earliest year Elections NWT had data available.

"I think it's sad that more people are not engaged," said former Premier Joe Handley. "And I think it's an issue that the MLAs have to look at and say: 'What's happening? Are we becoming [so] irrelevant that people don't pay attention to what's going on?"

Wendy Bisaro, former MLA for Frame Lake, called the turnout numbers "brutal."

"I struggle really hard with why we can't get people out to vote," she said. "Maybe this year it was the third election in a row for people. I don't know.

"It sort of indicates that maybe we need to do something with our territorial government to get people involved, and get people interested."

Turnout highest in Nunakput, lowest in Yellowknife

Turnout was highest in the Nunkaput constituency, where a tight five-way race saw nearly 75 per cent of voters cast ballots. 

Yellowknife ridings saw the lowest turnout in the territory. Three ridings — Kam Lake, Great Slave, and Frame Lake — saw turnout rates under 30 per cent, while Range Lake only slightly passed that threshold, with 31.55% of eligible voters casting ballots.

As a whole, Yellowknife's seven ridings had 5,014 voters cast ballots, for a total voter turnout of 32.8 per cent in the capital.

The biggest drop-off in percentage from 2011 was in the riding of Inuvik Boot Lake. In 2015, 42.23 per cent of voters cast ballots, an over 40 per cent drop from 2011's 83.88 per cent turnout.

In total, only four ridings: Nunakput, Mackenzie Delta, Nahendeh, and Yellowknife Centre — saw a higher turnout by percentage than in 2011.

N.W.T. ridings by voter turnout percentage, 2015
RidingVoter turnout percentage, 2015Voter turnout percentage, 2011
Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh71.41%New riding for 2015
Mackenzie Delta65.33%46.61%
Deh Cho60.31%67.02%
Hay River South57.18%60.60%
Hay River North53.91%55.19%
Yellowknife North44.05%New riding for 2015
Inuvik Twin Lakes42.41%acclaimed
Inuvik Boot Lake42.23%83.88%
Yellowknife Centre38.26%35.43%
Yellowknife South33.14%acclaimed
Range Lake31.55%36.09%
Frame Lake27.56%29.96%
Great Slave27.15%40.06%
Kam Lake25.08%30.95%


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