Richmond continues to be the caboose on B.C.’s voting train after Elections Canada announced the riding of Richmond Centre placed dead last for advanced voter turnout.
Just 6,943 people voted in the newly shaped riding, which has 67,734 eligible voters. That turnout is well back of the province’s second last riding, Skeena-Bulkley Valley, which saw 8,322 voters over the four-day advanced polling over the Thanksgiving weekend.
All in all, 507,920 British Columbians voted ahead of Monday’s regular polls. Elections Canada stated advanced polling numbers were up 71 per cent from the 2011 federal election.
Notably, Richmond Centre nearly kept pace with the nationwide uptick this year.
That’s because in 2011 only 5,665 voters cast their ballots early from the Richmond riding, which had about 18,000 more eligible voters at the time (the 2011 Richmond riding became Richmond Centre as it shed some of its electorate base to the newly formed Steveston Richmond-East riding in order to form two, distinct Richmond ridings).
In 2011, 6.6 per cent of voters voted ahead of time whereas in 2015, 10.3 per cent of voters voted early, representing a 64 per cent increase.
Voter apathy wasn’t as evident in the Steveston Richmond-East riding, where 9,521 voters endorsed either the Liberals, Greens, Conservatives, NDP or Libertarians.
With 70,676 eligible voters to date that means 13.4 per cent of the electorate has already voted in this riding.
In 2011 its parent riding, Delta Richmond-East, saw an advanced voter turnout of 6.6 per cent (5,351 voters out of an electorate of 80,707), meaning there was just over a 100 per cent increase from Steveston-Richmond East voters.
Political ridings that incorporate the Steveston area tend to outvote neighbouring ridings in Richmond.
In 2013 the provincial riding of Richmond Centre took last place overall as well, with a voter turnout of just 38.9 per cent. Not far behind that riding was Richmond East at 43.9 per cent. The Richmond-Steveston riding managed 51 per cent.
Steveston-area voters also turnout more in municipal elections.
The biggest turnout at dvanced polls was on the North Shore where 18 per cent of the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky electorate voted.