Advance polling on track to surpass 2019 totals: Elections Manitoba

Calling it a “busy weekend of voting” officials with Elections Manitoba say tens of thousands of people have already cast their ballot ahead of the Oct. 3 vote and it appears the number is on pace to pass the total recorded in 2019. Morgan Modjeski reports.

Advance polling in Manitoba is on track to surpass the numbers recorded during the last provincial election, according to election officials.

Calling it a “busy weekend of voting,” an official with Elections Manitoba says 55,000 ballots were cast in the first two-and-a-half days of advance voting.

Advance voting opened Sept. 23 and ends Saturday.

“By comparison, in 2019, there was about 113,000 cast over all eight days, so we are coming up on 50 per cent of the 2019 total,” said Mike Ambrose, the director of communications and public information at Elections Manitoba.

While Ambrose admits there isn’t always a correlation between high numbers in the early ballot and overall voter turnout, he says it’s exciting for so many people to be already taking part in the vote.

Carmen Omeasoo, who was hoping to beat the rush on Oct. 3, was one of them.

“If you have a voice, speak up,” he told CityNews. “There’s no time better than the present. If it’s open, it’s open. Take advantage.”

Michelle Maynard also voted early. She says it’s an important box to check – literally and figuratively.

“I just think it’s important to get your vote in early, and be organized,” said Maynard. “And if I can just do it early, that will save me from having to rush to do it later.”

Winnipeg resident taking advantage of advance polling Sept. 26, 2023, ahead of provincial election. (CityNews)

They’re not the only ones hoping to beat the Election Day wait lines. How people view early ballots has changed over the years, according to political scientist Christopher Adams.

“It used to be some years ago, that the only people who were doing advance voting were those who knew they’d be away, or were going in for an operation, or just knew they wouldn’t be around,” said Adams. “But now, more and more people see it as a steady thing, and convention, to go and do your advance voting.”

Adams says now is when parties will be encouraging their base to vote while also attempting to sway swing voters, scraping data from a variety of sources to determine where they should be concentrating their efforts.


The political scientist says early turnout could mean people want to see someone new in office.

“A lot of advance voting would indicate there’s a real interest in this election,” said Adams. “And this often — not always — but it often happens when there is a possibility for a change in government.”

FILE – Elections Manitoba advance polling sign, Sept. 26, 2023. (CityNews)

With the provincial campaigns approaching the finish line, Adams says supporters on all sides will be targeting their effort as they prepare to mark their ballots, stressing voting is of the easiest ways to participate in the democratic process.

It’s a message echoed by Elections Manitoba.

“I would encourage all Manitobans to get out and vote,” said Ambrose. “Every vote is important and it’s your say in our democracy.”

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