Election 2014: Advance voting turnout up

Advance voting numbers came in at approximately 4,000, up significantly over the 1,264 advance Saanich voters in 2011

If the advance voting numbers for the Saanich’s municipal election tomorrow (Nov. 15) are a telling sign, voter turnout will spike in 2014.

Advance voting numbers came in at approximately 4,000, as the eighth and final advance poll closed Monday at Saanich Municipal Hall.

It’s a sizeable uptick over the 1,264 Saanich voters who used advanced stations in 2011.

One contributor is the convenience factor of additional polling stations, such as the University of Victoria, which drew an estimated 737 voters to the Student Union Building on Nov. 6. There were eight advance polling stations in Saanich this year, compared to two in 2011. Final numbers haven’t yet been tallied.

Feedback from advanced UVic voters confirmed what the UVic Student Society had hoped, that the station did in fact draw new voters.

“We realize we captured that audience which was going to vote anyways, whether they just turned 18, or they, always vote, just because it was just that much easier to do it on campus, and we don’t know exactly how many that was,” said Greg Atkinson, who does external relations for UVSS.

“But we also had students, staff and faculty tell us they voted because we created that opportunity,” he added.

Only about 400 of the 737 votes were cast for Saanich (with about 50 votes for Oak Bay and 300 for the City of Victoria), but it was still an impressive turnout considering the total number of advance voters at the UVic station accounts for 58 per cent of Saanich’s 2011 advance turnout numbers.

General voting for the municipal election takes place Nov. 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For a full

reporter@saanichnews.com