Preliminary numbers suggest low voter turnout in Newfoundland and Labrador election

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Preliminary numbers from Newfoundland and Labrador's elections authority suggest voter turnout in the provincial election could be a record low.

An Elections NL spokeswoman says she estimates 120,000 people had requested mail-in ballots ahead of last Friday's deadline. Completed ballots must be postmarked by March 12.

Adrienne Luther said in an email Tuesday another 68,000 people voted in advance polls or by special ballot before her office announced on Feb. 12 that all voting would be conducted by mail.

If the mail-in ballot estimate doesn't change much, the province is on track for a voter turnout hovering around 51 per cent, which would be a historic low.

Luther emphasizes that the estimate of 120,000 mail-in ballot requests is both rough and preliminary because many of the telephone and email requests were for multiple electors.

British Columbia's pandemic election in October saw a historic low voter turnout, while Saskatchewan's September election saw its second-lowest turnout since 1986.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press