Final numbers won't be known for weeks, but turnout was down across the board in the Fraser Valley and B.C.Chart: Tyler Olsen

Election turnout down across Fraser Valley and B.C.

Even after thousands of mail-in ballots counted, turnout is likely to fall below 50% in many ridings

The turnout for Saturday’s provincial election looks to be down in the Fraser Valley and across British Columbia from three years prior.

While final turnout numbers won’t be known for weeks until all mail-in ballots are counted, the combination of voting day turnout and mail-in ballots is known and suggests a significant dip in voting from 2017.

Voting was down across all Abbotsford-, Mission-, and Chilliwack-area ridings.

In 2017, voter turnout was 61 per cent across the province. In the Fraser Valley, turnout ranged from 55 per cent in Chilliwack and Abbotsford South, to 62 per cent in Maple Ridge-Mission.

Three years later, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, voting rates look to have sagged dramatically.

Elections BC said voters returned about 82 per cent of the 724,279 vote-by-mail packages requested. And with about 34 per cent of registered voters casting a ballot in person – either in advance polls or on election day – that suggests the provincewide 2020 turnout rate was a measly 52 per cent.

That provincial trend could be seen locally in the Fraser Valley. Three local ridings have estimated turnout rates below 50 per cent – assuming 82 per cent of vote-by-mail packages are returned. Even if all vote-by-mail packages were to be returned, turnout wouldn’t reach 2017 levels

The Chilliwack riding had the lowest turnout in the region, with around 44 per cent of voters estimated to have cast ballots. And even if every mail-in package was returned, Chilliwack would still have a voter turnout of just 47 per cent. In 2020, turnout in that riding was 55 per cent.

In Abbotsford, voter turnout was lowest in Abbotsford West and highest in Abbotsford-Mission.

Generally, the more competitive the local riding, the higher the turnout was.

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BC politicsBC Votes 2020