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Voter turnout dips below 80 per cent in 2019 P.E.I. election

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Prince Edward Island has been described as the envy of Canada when it comes to voter turnout.

And, even though voter turnout in Tuesday’s provincial election was still strong, it was the lowest on P.E.I. in recent history.

The 76.28 per cent voter turnout was only the third time it was below 80 per cent since 1966.

Voter turnout also dipped below 80 per cent in 1982 (78.2 per cent) and in 2011 (76.53 per cent).

According to Elections P.E.I., 81,700 Islanders cast ballots out of 107,109 eligible voters.

This is despite a referendum question regarding electoral reform on the ballot as well as an election that saw the governing Liberal party upset by the Progressive Conservatives and the Green party. Advance poll numbers were also up compared to the 2015 election with 37,865 ballots cast or 36.39 per cent.


ELECTION DATE                  VOTER TURNOUT                TOTAL ENUMERATED

Nov. 17, 2000                         84.86 per cent                        94,087

Sept. 29, 2003                        83.27 per cent                        97,180

May 28, 2007                          83.84 per cent                        97,810

Oct. 3, 2011                            76.53 per cent                        97,967

May 3, 2015                            82.10 per cent                        100,343

April 23, 2019                         76.28 per cent                         107,109


Voter turnout was even lower than the Sept. 29, 2003 election when hurricane Juan hit the Island and knocked out power to two-thirds of residents. That election, voter turnout was 83.27 per cent, many of whom voted by candlelight.

The highest voter turnout was recorded in 1986 with 87.60 per cent.

Also, since 1966, the number of voters has nearly doubled from 56,861 to 100,343 in 2015. The 2019 election was the second time in history the number of voters cracked the 100,000 mark and set a record with 107,109 eligible voters.

The overall number of eligible voters included District 9. Even though they didn’t vote for a candidate at this time, due to the death of Green party candidate Josh Underhay, voters were able to cast a ballot and vote on the referendum question. Voter turnout in District 9 was 58.6 per cent – the lowest on P.E.I., according to Elections P.E.I. A byelection will be held in the future.

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