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Advance votes down in federal byelection in Victoria

Nov 21 2012

Preliminary figures from byelection advance polls in Victoria show a steep drop in turnout compared to the last national general election.

Figures released Tuesday by Elections Canada show 6,445 Victoria residents have already voted, a drop of more than 40 per cent from the 10,092 votes cast in advance of the 2011 general election.

The vote to replace NDP MP Denise Savoie, who cited health reasons when she retired in the summer, takes place Nov. 26. Advance polling ended on Monday.

University of Victoria political scientist emeritus Norman Ruff isn't surprised by the lower turnout.

"It's a byelection, so typically, you don't have such high public attention as you do for a national campaign," he said.

In 2011, 69 per cent of eligible Victorians voted compared to 61 per cent nationwide, but the advance polls indicate that Victoria's high turnout might not hold for this seat, he said.

The other ridings where byelections are being held - Calgary Centre and Durham in Ontario - are seeing a similar trend, Elections Canada said.

In Calgary Centre, only 2,740 votes were cast in advance, compared to 6,754 in 2011 and in Durham there were 5,171 advance votes cast compared to 8,404.

Six candidates are vying for Savoie's seat: Donald Galloway, Green party; Dale Gann, Conservative party; Art Lowe, Libertarian party; Philip G. Ney, Christian Heritage party; Murray Rankin, New Democratic Party; Paul Summerville, Liberal Party of Canada.

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