The riding of Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola saw many more people head to the advance polls this federal election than in 2019.
According to Elections Canada, 25,953 people within the riding, which includes Merritt, cast their advance vote between Sept. 10-13. In the 2019 federal election, when the Liberal Party under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won their second term, 20,469 advance votes were cast in the riding, meaning a jump of 27-percent in the 2021 election.
This year’s Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola advance turnout was the sixth-highest in all of the 45 ridings within BC.
The Interior ridings in general saw voters come out in droves to cast their ballot before the official election date of Sept. 20. The riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo had the second-highest number of advance votes cast in all of British Columbia, at 27,838, beaten only by the neighbouring North Okanagan-Shuswap, which totalled 28,925.
The third most advance votes were cast in the Kootenay-Columbia riding with 27,330, fourth was in Saanich-Gulf Islands at 27,201, and fifth was Victoria at 27,034.
Only two ridings in all of BC saw advance voting numbers lower in 2021 than in 2019 – South Okanagan-West Kootenay, whose advance turnout plummeted by more than half from 20,636 to 10,217, and Surrey-Newton, whose turnout dropped from 15,417 to 12,146.
Nationally, Canadians set a new record for advance votes, with nearly 5.8-million voting within the four-day period, approximately 19-percent more than in 2019.
“I want to thank the electors who took advantage of advance polls for their patience and their help in making this a safe experience for everyone,” Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perrault said in a news release.
A number of polling locations will be set up across the City of Merritt for the Sept. 20 Election Day, dependent on one’s address. For those who still are unaware which station to go to, check your mail for your official voting card, or visit electionscanada.ca.
The Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates are as follows:
- Dan Albas, Conservative Party (Incumbent)
- Sarah Eves, Liberal Party
- Joan Phillip, New Democratic Party
- Brennan Wauters, Green Party
- Kathryn McDonald, People’s Party of Canada.