Less than 6 per cent of eligible Hamilton Centre byelection voters cast early ballot

An Elections Ontario polling station for Toronto-Danforth held at Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre is pictured on election day, Toronto, Thursday, June 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

Elections officials are reporting a lacklustre response to early voting in Hamilton’s upcoming provincial byelection.

A byelection is set for March 16 in Hamilton Centre, with candidates vying to take the riding previously held by the city’s current mayor and former Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Horwath resigned her seat in the Ontario legislature to lead the City of Hamilton months after she stood down as leader of the Ontario NDP. Her resignation came the same night Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives swept to a second majority government in June 2022.

That provincial contest saw the lowest voter turnout in Ontario’s electoral history, with just 43 per cent of voters casting a ballot.

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Early signs from the Hamilton Centre byelection suggest it could go lower still.

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In June 2022, a total of 11 per cent of registered voters in the riding voted during advance polling. That number for the byelection has dropped to just 5.2 per cent of those registered to vote.

“All registered voters should have received their voter information card with information about their assigned voting location for election day,” Elections Ontario said in a statement.

“Eligible voters who have not yet received a card can still vote but will need to bring an accepted piece of ID to update or add their information to the voters list when they go to the polls.”

The upcoming byelection is being contested by Pete Wiesner for the Progressive Conservatives, Sarah Jama for the Ontario NDP and Deirdre Pike for the Ontario Liberals. The Ontario Green candidate is Lucia Iannantuono.

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