Elections Canada reports historic turnout among international voters
TORONTO – Elections Canada has received more mailed-in ballots from Canadians living abroad than in any other federal election in history.
As of Friday, Elections Canada said it had received 21,842 ballots from international electors, the biggest turnout among expats in any federal election.
The number of Canadians on the international register of electors stood at 55,529 – a figure that has ballooned by more than 20,000 since last month.
That’s a major spike from 2015, when approximately 11,000 ballots were cast by expats and 15,603 voters were on the register.
The number of ballots received this election far surpasses the number of electors registered in the past three elections. In 2011, 10,733 international voters were registered, and 11,561 were registered in 2008.
The spike may be connected in part to new rules that make voting easier for Canadians living abroad.
In the past, expats who’d lived more than five years abroad were barred from voting. Last year, the Liberal government passed legislation that scrapped the five-year cap, and the Supreme Court of Canada later ruled in favour of removing the provision.
Elections Canada will continue to count mailed-in ballots until 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
Members of the Jewish community were also provided “additional service points” to vote. Election day lands on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, when Orthodox Jews are not permitted to work, vote or campaign.
Over the summer Elections Canada was lobbied to change the date, but decided against it.
So far, 7,221 electors have taken advantage of the “additional service points” for Jewish voters, Elections Canada said.
Elections Canada’s social media monitor unit has also noted some evidence of inaccurate information spread online about the election process. However, there has been no indication of “large-scale impacts” on voting, the agency said.
Elections Canada is expected to release a full report on major trends it observed through its monitoring following the election.