Cape Breton voter turnout high, while HRM remains flat
On a night when Halifax Regional Municipality elected its first new mayor in 12 years, just 37 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
In all, 110,040 people weighed in on the leadership of the city. The number is the same as the last municipal election in 2008.
"It's disappointing," said Mayor-elect Mike Savage of the low turnout. "Municipal politics has never had the turnout that provincial and federal do."
He said he hopes to see a difference in four years.
"I think one of the metrics of success of this next council – myself and my fellow councillors – will be who turns out in the next election? Are we going to generate excitement?"
Of those who voted, the majority opted to participate in e-voting, which drew nearly 22.5 per cent of the ballots cast in the two weeks leading up to Saturday's election.
The voters chose Savage to replace outgoing Mayor Peter Kelly. Savage easily clinched a seat as the head of city council, earning 57.7 per cent of the vote.
Cape Breton turnout high
Richmond County attracted one of the highest voter turnouts in the province. Returning Officer Warren Olsen estimated 80 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots.
In the last election, 77 per cent of Richmond County voted.
"It's a long history of interest in politics," he said. "It's always the talk and there's small tight knit communities so when there's a race people come out to support."
Cape Breton Regional Municipality also saw its numbers increase.
Returning Officer Bernie White believes turnout can be attributed to the mayoralty race between Cecil Clarke and Rankin MacSween.
"In 2008, we had about 50 per cent of the eligible voters in total participated," White said. "Early indications are that we are somewhere back up to about 56, 57 per cent again so from that perspective, it's a success."
White also believes the addition of online voting played a role in the number of voters this year.