The number of people turning out to early voting opportunities almost doubled from three years ago, suggesting several things are in play, according to a political expert.
A total of 11,747 people voted at advance polls for this coming civic election in Surrey – 84 per cent more than in 2011, when 6,396 came out.
There are several reasons for an increase like that, according to SFU political professor Patrick Smith.
Firstly, it’s become much easier to vote at advanced polls and cities are doing a better job of letting people know they can use the opportunity.
In addition, in Surrey, there are three well-oiled machines behind mayoral candidates Doug McCallum, Barinder Rasode and Linda Hepner, cranking up their get-out-the-vote campaigns and bumping up the early voting numbers significantly.
However, Smith said the 84-per-cent increase in voter turnout is a “noticeable” jump and probably indicates there will be a large voter turnout on election day (Nov. 15).
Where are the new votes coming from?
Smith said it’s not easy to say, but one possibility is that Rasode’s One Surrey team is being successful in getting the youth vote out.
If that’s the case, the large number of undecided voters that remain may work well for Rasode.
There’s also the possibility that the large number of the undecided may walk into the voting booth and be resistant to change, meaning a vote for Surrey First, which currently dominates city council.
Advance voting in White Rock has also been brisker compared to the number of ballots cast ahead of the last civic election, although it’s too soon to say if the increase will come close to that seen in its much-larger neighbour.
Chief election officer Tracey Arthur said 749 ballots were cast in the city’s first two days of advance voting, held Nov. 5 and 6. That’s more than the entire three days in 2011, when a total of 736 ballots were cast.
The last opportunity to vote in advance of Saturday takes place Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Ave.
– with files from Tracy Holmes