A record number of voters showed up to this year's advance polls.

Voter turnout at early polls shatters record

If steady showing continues, Surrey may exceed 35 per cent turnout.

Advance turnout for this year’s civic election is surpassing any in history, indicating there may be a huge number of voters coming out to the polls on general voting day, Nov. 19.

In the early voting opportunities, in the last week, 6,489 people cast ballots.

That almost doubles the 3,700 voters who showed up during week-long advance polls three years ago, and even eclipses the 4,900 who took early voting opportunities during the 2005 mayoral slug-fest between Dianne Watts and Doug McCallum.

In fact, it’s a greater number than have ever come out to the early polling stations, city staff say.

In Delta, 2,403 people came out to the three early voting days, greater than the 2,090 three years ago and the 2,269 in the byelection last year.

However, Surrey was extremely strong.

Describing action at the advanced polls as brisk and steady, city staff are excited by the high turnout, which represents 2.32 per cent of registered voters, bringing this city the third best percentage in history.

In 1980, four per cent of the registered voters showed up to the early polls.

All of this could be a harbinger of what is to come on election day.

In 2005, 35.4 per cent of registered voters came out to cast their ballots on election day.

If the turnout passes that, it will be the greatest showing in more than 20 years (37.95 per cent  of voters participated in 1990).

Several factors could be at play to explain the high turnout at advance polls, including an effective advertising campaign by the city letting people know of the early voting, along with a dynamic competition for mayor, council and school board, where significant issues are being raised that are engaging voters.

It also indicates there’s effective get-out-the-vote machines in two party camps, both in Surrey First and the Surrey Civic Coalition.

Surrey is electing eight councillors and a mayor as well as six trustees on Saturday, Nov. 19

@diakiw