Turnout for Manitoba provincial election approaches 2016 levels

Although numbers are still coming in, CBC News is projecting voter turnout in Tuesday’s provincial election will approach the percentage that cast ballots in 2016.

With 98 per cent of polls reporting as of midnight Tuesday, overall voter turnout was hovering just under 55 per cent.

That’s down from the 2016 Manitoba general election, when 57.4 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives won a record-breaking majority in that election, taking 40 of the province’s 57 seats.

The lowest voter turnout on record in Manitoba was in 1941, when just 50.5 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls.

Advanced voting was up this year. Elections Manitoba says 112,983 voters marked ballots during the eight days of advance voting in this year’s election, compared to about 110,000 in 2016.

In addition, 409 absentee votes and 213 homebound votes have been cast to date, for a total of 113,605 advance votes.

Riding turnout ranged from 24% to 73% in 2016

During the last provincial election, the riding of Keewatinook, in northern Manitoba, saw the lowest turnout, according to Elections Manitoba data, with 24.3 per cent of eligible voters going to the polls in 2016.

Turnout was low throughout northern ridings in 2016, with Flin Flon at 34.4 per cent, Thompson at 37.4 per cent, and The Pas at 30.7 per cent.

Winnipeg’s River Heights riding had the highest voter turnout in 2016, with 72.7 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

According to Elections Manitoba, non-voters historically tend to be younger.

In a 2016 survey by PRA commissioned by Elections Manitoba, about 70 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 identified themselves as non-voters.

People in that age group made up seven per cent of all voters who were surveyed — but accounted for 16 per cent of all non-voters, the survey found.