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Fewer voters turn out for 2019 election than 2016, says Elections Manitoba

Fewer Manitobans took part in the 2019 election than the 2016 vote
Global News' Joe Scarpelli speaks to Shannon Sampert, a retired political scientist from the University of Winnipeg, about the low turnout for the 2019 Manitoba election.

The election is over, and the results are in — and for nearly half of us, voting day in Manitoba wasn’t for voting.

Of the 853,378 Manitobans registered to vote on Sept. 10, only 472,575 made their way to the voting booth, according to unofficial results from Elections Manitoba.

This year’s turnout, 55.4 per cent, is down from the 57 per cent who made it out to the polls in 2016 and is the second-worst turnout the province has seen since 1981.

That’s not surprising for Shannon Sampert, a retired political scientist from the University of Winnipeg.

“It was a summer election, [and] a lot of people weren’t paying a lot of attention,” Sampert told Global News Wednesday.
“[It’s] disappointing — this is a right and a responsibility and you expect people to show up — but a summer election? Not unexpected.”
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Sampert said lacklustre popularity numbers for both PC leader Brian Pallister and NDP leader Wab Kinew, as well as polling that showed little movement between the parties during the campaign, may have also played a role in keeping voters at home.

“For a lot of people there was a decision made just not to bother to show up, there was no point in voting any way,” she said.

“If your person isn’t going to win, why vote?”

The riding with the worst turnout Tuesday was Keewatinook, which saw just 17.6 per cent of registered voters take part, while the most eager electors were found in Interlake-Gimli which saw a 70.3 per cent turnout, according to Elections Manitoba’s unofficial counts.

This election’s turnout wasn’t the worst the province has ever seen, though. That was in 1941, when 50.5 per cent of Manitobans made it out to the polls, according to Elections Manitoba.

–With files from Joe Scarpelli

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