Voter turnout in Regina up from 2016, but still low

Voter turnout in Regina for Monday’s municipal election increased from 2016 but was still rather low.

Of the 195,000 eligible voters in Regina, only 41,527 cast their ballot, for a turnout of only 21 percent.

City Clerk Jim Nicol says its rather disappointing to see the lack of voters, adding that they tried everything to make voting more accessible.

“Are there other things we can do moving forward in the future? Perhaps, said Nicol. “But it’s up to the voters to determine of they’re engaged. We had contested races everywhere but Ward 4, and we also had a very contested race at the mayoralty level, that typically drives voter turnout. It did a little bit, but we have a long ways to go.”

He says the election office works very hard to provide many, easy options to vote and keeping them informed.

Nicol says he finds himself wondering why people don’t seem to be more engaged in municipal politics.

“From a returning officer perspective, it just makes me ask, why aren’t more people voting?” said Nicol. “We say, wow, 21 percent of eligible people voted. It begs the obvious question, what are the other 79 percent doing? But that’s not for me to speculate on.”

Nicol says he believes the biggest factor for voter turnout this year was voter fatigue and confusion.

“I would respectfully say that I would agree that there was fatigue because of the close proximity between the provincial election and ours, some of which is just confusion on people’s part,” said Nicol. “When asked what our thoughts were on having the two elections so close together, we flagged that we were very concerned for voter fatigue and voter confusion.”

Nicol says there was an increase in the number of mail-in ballots received this year due to COVID-19, with the city processing just over 4,900.

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