Updated statistics from Elections BC show that the 2020 Provincial Election saw the lowest voter turnout in B.C. on record.
On Friday, Elections BC released updated statistics that say 54.5 per cent of registered voters showed up to vote in this fall’s snap election.
That’s the lowest turnout on record since 1928, breaking a previous record low of 55.14 per cent in 2009. 61.4 per cent of voters turned out for the election in 2017.
The highest turnout on record since 1928 was in 1983, when 77.66 per cent of registered voters showed up to the polls and Social Credit premier Bill Bennett was re-elected for his third and final term.
Voter estimates for the 2020 election are based on the number of registered voters at the close of general registration on September 26, and the number of valid votes and rejected ballots, cast either in person or by mail.
1,900,353 voters cast a ballot in the provincial election, the second-highest total in B.C. electoral history.
Record numbers of voters used vote-by-mail packages in 2020, with 724,279 packages requested, compared to only 6,517 voters who voted by mail in 2017.
596,287 people returned their packages by the close of voting this fall, representing a return rate of 82.3 per cent.
Elections BC says the return rate does not account for voters who decided to vote in person after requesting a vote-by-mail package.
They say they will be reporting this statistic in the Chief Electoral Officer’s report, which will be published in 2021.
2020’s provincial election was also notable in that it was the first election where more voters cast their ballot in advance than on Election Day.
28.8 per cent of those who voted did so on Election Day, compared to 35.4 per cent who voted in advance and 31.4 per cent who voted by mail.
Mail-in ballots flipped a handful of ridings after general voting day counting had concluded, including West Vancouver-Sea to Sky and Chilliwack-Kent.
Green candidate Jeremy Valeriote lost to incumbent Liberal Jordan Sturdy in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky by a margin of only 60 votes after a mandatory recount.
At a press appearance this week, Premier John Horgan said he will swear his cabinet in on Nov. 26, and his government will deliver a throne speech on Dec. 7.