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Richmond voter turnout worst in B.C.

Incumbent Richmond MP Alice Wong is congratulated by Liberal candidate Joe Peschisolido Tuesday at the Conservative headquarters on Minoru Boulevard. - Martin van den Hemel photo
Incumbent Richmond MP Alice Wong is congratulated by Liberal candidate Joe Peschisolido Tuesday at the Conservative headquarters on Minoru Boulevard.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Voter turnout in Richmond was the worst of any municipalities in B.C., according to Elections Canada figures.

Just 50.7 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the Richmond riding where Conservative Alice Wong toppled her opponents. In Delta-Richmond East, voter turnout in newly elected Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay’s riding was 60.2 per cent.

That compares with 61.1 per cent across B.C. and 61.4 per cent across Canada.

The numbers don’t include voters who registered on election day at polling stations, according to Elections Canada.

In the 2008 election, Elections Canada reported a national voter turnout of 58.8 per cent—a record low. In Richmond, just 52.6 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in 2008, and in Delta-Richmond East the number was 60 per cent.

Earlier this year, the City of Richmond’s chief electoral officer suggested online voting, polling stations in malls and published candidate profiles could boost declining voter turnout.

David Weber said online voting would give voters another option, but noted “a significant amount of investigation and work” is needed before it’s considered for a municipal election.

“It’s a good option, it does provide very good access for a lot of people, and it probably provides better access to those who are away,” said Weber.

This week, the City of Vancouver announced it will employ online voting in a pilot project for the Nov. 19 civic election, pending approval by the provincial government.

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