Turnout in Saturday’s municipal election was 35 per cent, firmly in line with previous local votes.
With 33,182 ballots cast, according to unofficial results – official tallies will be released Monday evening – turnout was down slightly from 2014, when 37 per cent of those eligible voted.
Abbotsford’s turnout was just below the provincial average of 36 per cent.
There were actually more than 900 more ballots cast in Abbotsford in 2018 than in 2014. But the turnout rate dropped because of a surge in the number of registered electors in the city. Abbotsford had more than 7,000 new people registered to vote this year, an increase of eight per cent over 2014.
The 2011 election was the high water mark for recent votes, with 38.4 turnout. But that was spurred by a referendum on the controversial Stave Lake water project.
Between 199 and 2008, turnout fluctuated between 34 and 37 per cent. Turnout has been even worse in the past, though: in 1996, only one-quarter of residents participated in that year’s election, which also included a referendum on whether to build a new police building. Strangely, two years earlier, a record 45 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls to select a new council for the newly amalgamated City of Abbotsford – and to vote in a referendum to decide the new municipality’s name.
Watch for more coverage in Wednesday’s Abbotsford News.