Federal election voter turnout 68.3 per cent, highest in 22 years: official vote count

Elections Canada's official results show a voter turnout of 68.3 per cent in the federal election, a seven-point increase from 2011, with Alberta recording the largest increase of any province, up 13 points.

Alberta had 13-point increase in turnout; big increases in B.C. and Manitoba, too

Voter turnout for the Oct. 19 election was 68.3 per cent, according to Elections Canada's official results. That's 0.2 points lower than their preliminary number released in October.

The turnout was the highest since 1993, the last time voters turfed out a Conservative prime minister.

The change in vote share, 2011-2015

Use the arrows in each table below to view additional columns.

As you can see in the table below, using the arrows, Prince Edward Island had the highest voter turnout, as usual, with 77.4 per cent. But other provinces began catching up this time. 

Newfoundland and Labrador's turnout this election was the lowest, 61.1 per cent, but that still represents a nine percentage point increase from the 2011 federal vote.

The province with the highest increase in turnout was Alberta, up 13 points to 68.2 per cent, while Nunavut, where former Conservative environment minister Leona Aglukkaq finished third, was even higher, up 14 points. 

The much-increased Alberta turnout contrasts with the hotly-contested provincial election in May, when turnout went down two-tenths of a point from 2012, to 54.2 per cent.

B.C. and Manitoba are the provinces with the next highest increase in voter turnout this time.

Party vote shares in the tables below are based on the valid votes cast (in other words excluding the rejected ballots, 120,515 in all.) 

Use the arrows in the upper right of each table to view additional columns. Columns can be sorted large to small and vice versa. The total votes include independent and other candidates and rejected ballots.

Turnout and vote share

These are some other quirky and possibly significant observations on the voting results:

  • The Conservatives' share of the vote was up only in Quebec, and by just two-tenths of a point.
  • Only in P.E.I, Nunavut and Yukon did the NDP vote share increase.
  • The Conservatives had more votes than the NDP in the three Maritime provinces, while the NDP came second in N.L. 
  • In Ontario, the Liberal Party received 1.5 million more votes compared to the 2011 election, while the other parties combined lost about half a million votes, suggesting the Liberals received the bulk of their increased support from new voters. University of Toronto political scientist Nelson Wiseman says the Conservative dominance in 2011 was the exception, and that this time the province reverted to the norm of the last half-century or so.
  • The popular vote in Manitoba looks pretty similar to the vote in Ontario and not at all like the results to the west in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Wiseman calls the province "the Ontario of the Prairies," adding that Liberal vote gains were greater in Winnipeg than the rest of the province.
  • The NDP share of the popular vote in Saskatchewan went down seven points, but at the same time it went from zero to three of Saskatchewan's 14 seats. Two of those seat gains were thanks to redistribution, which, Wiseman says, lessened the number of mixed urban-rural ridings, a change the Conservatives unsuccessfully opposed.
  • The big increase in turnout in Alberta, a reflection perhaps of both in-migration and voter interest, also saw the Conservative vote total rise by about 220,000 even as its vote share fell seven points. 
  • While the NDP had about the same share of the vote in B.C. as it did in Saskatchewan, the New Democrats won one-third of B.C.'s seats.

Comparing the results of the 2011, 2015 elections

These next two tables show the change in vote share and then in total votes from the federal election in 2011. In an earlier story, we compared the change from the most recent vote, either a by-election or the 2011 federal election.

Change in popular vote, 2011-2015

This table provides the increase or decrease in a party's popular vote compared to the 2011 election.


  • The November 2015 version of this story had higher turnout numbers. Elections Canada's official voting results show the number of electors on the lists at about 300,000 higher than in their preliminary results, bringing down the turnout percentages.

April 26, 2016 4:30 PM ET