The number of Islanders who took advantage of advance polling went up this federal election, in line with a country-wide trend.
Elections Canada said 30,626 Islanders cast their ballots in the four days advance polling stations were open. That represents a 16.83 per cent increase compared to the advance turnout in the 2019 federal election.
All four ridings in P.E.I. reported an uptick in advance voter turnout.
The numbers mirror the national trend. Elections Canada estimates about 5.78 million Canadians headed to the voting booths early, an 18.46 per cent increase compared to 2019.
Françoise Enguehard, Atlantic media advisor at Elections Canada, said the agency made sure to get the word out to Canadians concerned about COVID-19 that there were other options besides voting on Election Day.
But while Canadians who planned ahead for the pandemic played a significant role, Enguehard said the number of people making use of advance polls had already been growing before COVID-19.
"It was in 1993 that advance polls were instituted and it has been growing — maybe not ever since, but for the last three elections we have seen a steady increase," she said. "That is, you know, a trend that is here to stay."
She said that advance polls being open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. across the country also allowed more people to participate.
The deadline to request a mail-in ballot or to vote at an Elections Canada office was on Tuesday. Enguehard said for Canadians looking to vote this election, the only option left is to head to the polls on Sept. 20.