Voter turnout has diminished in many western democracies in recent decades, including in Canada. Prior to 1980, it was not common to have a voter turnout of less than 70%.
Federal Election Turnout for Selected Elections
|General Election Date||Voter Turnout (%)|
|4 September 1984||75.3|
|21 November 1988||75.3|
|25 Oct 1993||69.6|
|2 June 1997||67|
|27 November 2000||61.2|
|28 June 2004||60.9|
|23 October, 2006||64.7|
|14 October, 2008||58.8|
(Source: Elections Canada)
Elections Canada commissioned a major study of non-voters after the 2000 general election’s historic low voter turnout. It found that one of the major factors in diminished voter turnout was low turnout by the youngest voters. Only 25% of 18-25 year olds and only 22% of 18 to 21-year-old voters participated that year. Youth voter turnout for 18-21 year olds improved for the 2006 election, rising to 38%. Results for youth turnout for 2008 are not yet available.
Provincial and local elections in BC have experienced an even lower voter turnout in recent years.
BC General Elections
|Year||Voter Turnout (%)|
(Source: Elections BC)
Local elections in British Columbia have an often lower turnout than federal or provincial elections, but there is a great degree of difference between municipalities from election to election. Likely voter turnout is higher when there is a controversial issue or a more contested election than if some positions such as mayor are acclaimed.
Local BC Elections November 2005 — Sample Jurisdictions
|Municipality||Voter Turnout (%)|
(Source: Union of BC Municipalities)