Big election turnout increases recorded in every local riding
Poll clerk Carmela Caccavo, left, and Deputy Returning Officer Manal El-Achi set up the Mississauga-Erin Mills polling station on University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Marta Iwanek)
Published Friday, June 8, 2018 12:27PM EDT
In every local riding, Thursday’s election saw a significant increase in voter turnout from four years earlier.
That mirrored the trend seen across the province, where turnout rose from 52.1 per cent in 2014 to 58 per cent this time around. (Ontario voters set an all-time low in 2011, when only 48.2 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.)
In nine out of 10 local ridings, the turnout increase within the riding was larger than the one experienced across Ontario, although the numbers are not perfectly comparable because of boundary changes between 2014 and 2018.
The biggest local increase was seen in Kitchener-Conestoga, where Mike Harris Jr. narrowly held off a challenge from the NDP’s Kelly Dick to win the riding for the PCs.
Turnout in that riding increased from 50.3 per cent to 60.8 per cent, while Harris Jr.’s margin of victory over Dick was significantly smaller than the difference between former PC MPP Michael Harris and Liberal challenger Wayne Wright in 2014.
Waterloo recorded the highest turnout figure of all local ridings, with 64.6 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots. In 2014, that figure stood at 54.9 per cent.
Many of those new votes went to NDP incumbent Catherine Fife, who increased her total number of votes from 20,536 to 27,315.
Another incumbent who picked up a significant number of votes was Randy Pettapiece in Perth-Wellington. His total increased from 15,996 to 23,736 as riding turnout rose from 55.7 per cent to 62.2 per cent.
Cambridge once again saw the lowest voter turnout of any local riding. Turnout there increased from 49 per cent to 56 per cent, while incumbent Liberal MPP Kathryn McGarry lost more than 7,500 of the 18,763 votes she garnered in 2014.
The next-lowest local turnout went to the new riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler, where ballots were cast by 56.9 per cent of eligible voters.
Brantford-Brant was the only riding to record a turnout increase smaller than the provincial average, as their figure increased from 52.5 per cent to 57.2 per cent.
In Guelph, Green Party leader Mike Schreiner nearly tripled the 10,230 votes he received in 2014, receiving a total of 29,082. Turnout also increased significantly, jumping from 55.5 per cent to 63.2 per cent.
Turnout in Kitchener Centre was close to the provincial average, hitting 58.7 per cent four years after a 52.3 per cent figure was recorded. Incumbent MPP Daiene Vernile saw her vote total drop from 18,472 in her first election to 9,499 this time around.
Big turnout increases, largely to the benefit of the PC incumbents, were also reported in local rural ridings.
Ernie Hardeman gained more than 10,000 votes as turnout in Oxford rose from 51.9 per cent to 60.3 per cent, while Wellington-Halton Hills saw its turnout increase from 55.6 per cent to 64.2 per cent as Ted Arnott received more than 7,000 more votes than he had in 2014.
The 58 per cent turnout seen province-wide represents the highest figure in any Ontario election since 1999.