It will be some time before we know how many British Columbians turn out to vote in the 2019 election, but residents turned out in droves to take advantage of advanced polls this year.
According to Elections Canada, nationwide 4.7 million people turned out to cast an early ballot, a 29 per cent increase from 2015.
In B.C., 689,690 British Columbians cast an early ballot this year, up 31.3 per cent from 2015.
But that boost wasn’t universal across the province: some districts saw a surge in turnout, while one actually saw fewer early voters.
These are the 10 B.C. ridings that saw the highest advance vote turnout in 2019.
Vancouver Island led advance turnout, including four of the five top ridings for early voting. Those four districts are being targeted by both the Green Party and the NDP, who are locked in a tight battle for control of the island.
Those ridings didn’t necessarily see the biggest jump in turnout, however.
When compared to early voting turnout from 2015, Chilliwack saw the biggest jump, at 65 per cent. Langley—Aldergrove saw a 59 per cent jump in early voters, while Nanaimo—Ladysmith, South Surrey—White Rock and Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge all saw a jump of 56 per cent.
Courtenay—Alberni actually saw two per cent fewer advance voters this year than in 2015. North Island—Powell River (16 per cent), Vancouver Quadra (9.3 per cent), Vancouver Kingsway (8.6 per cent), and Skeeny—Bulkley Valley (3.3 per cent) rounded out the bottom five.
While advance voting numbers were up in almost every single district, experts have cautioned that it may not translate into an increase in overall turnout.
In a previous interview with Global News, Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrel Bricker noted that advance voting numbers have been climbing for some time.
“In 2006, about 10 per cent of us voted early. In 2015, it was up to 20 per cent of us voting early,” he said. “It’s just been a general trend. I don’t know that it’s necessarily specifically related to this campaign.”