An estimated 3.6 million people across Canada spent some of their Thanksgiving long weekend at advance polling stations.
This represents a 71 per cent increase over the spring 2011 federal election’s advance turnout of 2.1 million and a 240 per cent increase over the fall 2008 federal election’s advance turnout of 1.5 million.
According to Elections Canada, the breakdown for the Thanksgiving long weekend advance polling period is as follows: 850,000 on Friday, 780,000 on Sunday, 767,000 on Sunday and 1.2 million people on Monday.
The massive numbers caused lengthy lines and waits of as much as two hours at advance polling stations in Vancouver and across the country.
Voters also turned up in great numbers at elections offices on Tuesday – the final opportunity to vote early at an election office. A number of offices reportedly closed an hour early due to issues ranging from large crowds and computer malfunctions.
An elections office in downtown Vancouver reportedly even turned away 100 people following a scuffle that was later intervened by Vancouver Police.
If the advance turnout comparison was based on only the first three days of advance voting, the turnout this year would only be 300,000 higher than 2011.
This was the first time advance polls remained open for four days, and this year’s fourth day was on a holiday – Thanksgiving Monday. It meant more people were free of daily commitments to go out and vote.
As well, Elections Canada set-up temporary offices at 39 university campuses, where over 70,000 people voted earlier this month.
Others also point towards the high interest with this year’s political issues, as this is the first federal election in over four years.
The general election will be held next Monday, October 19. On that day, over 67,000 polling stations across the country will be open for 12 hours – from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in British Columbia.
For more information on where to vote in your electoral district, find out at Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service.