Voter turnout remains low in Regina’s 2020 municipal election

Voting in Regina apparently remains an unpopular thing to do, as the latest election saw low voter turnout, even with new city initiatives.

2016 saw the lowest voter turnout on record with 20 per cent of the population voting. While this year saw a slight increase, overall voter activity remained low at 21 per cent.

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“We had contested races everywhere but Ward 4 and we also had a very contested race at the mayoralty level, which typically drives voter turnout. It did a little bit, but we have a long ways to go,” said Jim Nicol, Regina’s chief returning officer.

There are just over an estimated 195,000 eligible voters in Regina. But only 41,527 people voted on election day, at advance polls or through mail-in-ballots.

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“From the perspective of the elections office, I’m not sure what else we can really do,” Nicol said.

“We made voting incredibly easy and accessible for people. We had three days of advance polls, we had a very aggressive push and encouragement for people to use mail-in ballots.”

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The city said in this election more information was shared with voters through its redesigned website.

Its newly developed live-results website received more than 12,000 users on election night. As well, online engagement in this election was more than double the 2016 election.

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“I’m proud of what we did in terms of getting the message out, particularly with an incredibly revamped and positive website for people to use, which had a host of information at people’s fingertips,” Nicol said.

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“Are there other things we can do moving forward in the future? Perhaps.”

Nicol said he will be reaching out to his colleagues from across the province after their elections, particularly in Saskatoon to see what its turnout is. He added the city may also look at expanding drive-thru voting in the future.

While the city received 4,900 mail-in ballots before the Monday night deadline, Nicol said that option will continue to be accessible for people in the future if they want to use it.

Around 30 mail-in ballots were received after the election on Tuesday morning and were not counted, he said.

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