Winnipeg voter turnout hits 8-year low

Winnipeg voter turnout hits 8-year low

A poll for the Winnipeg election is seen in the Cityplace Skywalk.

A poll for the Winnipeg election is seen in the Cityplace Skywalk.

Mayoral candidates in the 2022 Winnipeg election were separated by a small number of votes, with the city’s voter turnout the lowest in eight years.

According to the City of Winnipeg, 195,530 votes were cast in the 2022 municipal election. The number represents just 37.5 per cent of voters.

This year’s voter turnout is a steep decline in comparison to the 42 per cent balloted in 2018, and an even steeper drop from the 50 per cent who casted their ballots in 2014.

“Many of our elections going backwards were in that 40 to 50 per cent range. So certainly we were a little bit disappointed with the turnout at 37.5 (per cent),” said Marc Lemoine, a senior election official with the City of Winnipeg.

The city states its strategy to get Winnipeggers to vote was similar in 2014 and 2018. While a record number of civilians voted in advance, the city says the anticipated surge on election day never happened.

“Being in the mid 30s is a very disturbing outcome,” said Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba.

Adams says there are a number of reasons why voting numbers decline. He states some voters may not be aware of local issues.

While he awaits more numbers, Adams suspects specific areas of the city voted in higher numbers than others, and this should have had an influence on the outcome.

He believes some Glen Murray voters assumed he didn’t need their vote.

“I think some people felt more liberated to vote who they preferred and felt liberated not to vote at all because they thought Glen Murray would win this election,” Adams said.

He added, when people feel their vote is effective and are interested in a competitive race, they will vote.

Corner, who didn’t cast a ballot, said he will accept whatever direction Scott Gillingham decides to take the city in.

“If you’re not actively working on something, you can’t complain about it, right?”

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