Ontario voter turnout a record low

The percentage of eligible voters casting ballots in Wednesday’s Ontario election hit an all-time low despite changes introduced in an effort to boost turnout. Only 52.6 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, or 4.4 million of 8.4 million possible voters, according to numbers released by Elections Ontario.

The turnout was worse than a previous record low of 54.7 per cent set in 1923. It also fell below the 2003 voter turnout of 56.9 per cent.

Legislation introduced by the previous Liberal government since the 2003 election to boost declining turnout in recent elections did not seem to have the desired effect.

Those changes included:

* Setting a fixed election date.
* Extending the hours and number of days of advanced voting.
* Boosting the number of polling stations.
* Extending polling by one hour on election day.

However, there was a significant gain in voting at advance polls. Elections Ontario reported that 451,949 electors voted at the advance polls this year, up from 356,396 in 2003.

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