Saskatchewan voter turnout around 66%

Voter turnout in the Saskatchewan election was about 66 per cent — down considerably from 2007, although not the worst ever.

Voter turnout in the November 7 Saskatchewan election was about 66 per cent — down considerably from 2007, although not the worst ever.

Four years ago, in the election that brought Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party to power, about 76 per cent of voters made it to the polls.

According to preliminary data from Elections Saskatchewan, 398,074 people voted either Monday or in the advance polls last week.

In 2007, 454,766 electors voted.

The 2011 numbers do not include absentee and remanded voters, and will not be official until after the final count on Nov. 19.

Advance interest high

While the numbers are down, voting at the advance polls, totalling 66,602 ballots, was up about 34 per cent compared to 2007.

Weather may have been a factor in the overall lower numbers. Between the end of the advance polling on Saturday and Monday's vote, many areas received a significant dumping of snow.

The Saskatchewan result is not the worst turnout in provincial election history. That happened in 1995 when slightly fewer than 65 per cent of eligible voters made it to polling stations.

Saskatchewan's highest turnout was just under 84 per cent in 1982, in the election that turfed the NDP government and brought Grant Devine's Progressive Conservatives to power.

Turnout here compares well

While Saskatchewan has done better than 66 per cent in many previous elections, the numbers still look pretty good compared to some other provincial elections held this year.

In Ontario's recent election for example, fewer than half of eligible voters exercised their franchise — the worst turnout ever.

Monday's election returned the Saskatchewan Party to power with an additional 11 seats. The NDP lost the same number.

While the seat count was 38-20 in the Sask. Party's favour before the legislature was dissolved, it will be 49-9 when MLAs return to work.