Regina had 21 per cent voter turnout for 2020 municipal election, slightly more than 2016

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Voter turnout remained low in Regina's latest municipal, even after new initiatives meant to make the process more accessible.

Elections Regina said 41,527 people voted in the municipal election on election day, at advance polls or through mail-in ballots.

"That represents an overall voter turnout of just over 21 per cent, which is a slight increase over 2016," city clerk and returning officer Jim Nicol said.

Nicol had previously told CBC he hoped the information on the website, including videos of the candidates, the competition for mayor and councillor positions, and the accessibility of polling stations and mail-in ballots would spark an increase in turnout.

On Thursday, Nicol said he's not sure what else officials can really do. He said the communications team worked hard to revamp the website and get the word out about the election.

"Voter turnout percentage is still very, very low. From a governance perspective, that doesn't make me feel good," he said.

"We had contested races everywhere but Ward 4 and we also had a very contested race at the mayoralty level. That typically drives voter turnout. It did a little bit, but we have a long ways to go."

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

Nicol plans to speak to his colleagues around Sask. about how their elections did and whether something else can be done. He said the drive thru option at city hall was popular this year and could perhaps be expanded in the future.

He also said the mail-in ballot option will continue to be accessible for people if they choose to use it. He said the city received 4,900 mail-in ballots before the Monday night deadline.

"A good chunk of the people who voted, I can't see them wanting to go back. So I would expect that we will market that very aggressively as an option again," he said.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press
Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Approximately 30 mail-in ballots were received on Tuesday morning — after the Monday night deadline — and were not counted, he said.

Nicol said he isn't sure why 79 per cent of eligible voters chose not to vote. He said it's not for him to speculate.

"I would respectfully say that I would agree that there was fatigue because of the close proximity between the provincial election and ours, some of which is just confusion on people's part," Nicol said.

Nicol said he brought up concerns with the province when the elections were first announced.

He said the new city council will receive information packets and have an orientation and onboarding process. They wil officially take over their new roles after being sworn in on Nov. 23.