Elections Canada saw an uptick in people voting at advance polls this past weekend compared to 2019, and in Wellington County the increase was even more pronounced.
Nationally, turnout at advance polls increased by 18 per cent from nearly 4.9 million people voting early in 2019 to an estimated 5.8 million in 2021.
Meanwhile Wellington–Halton Hills saw a 44 per cent jump with around 26,500 people casting their ballots at advance polls this year compared to 18,400 in 2019.
The number of voters using Perth–Wellington advance polls increased by 43 per cent, up 6,300 people from 14,700 in the last election.
Rejean Grenier, regional media advisor with Election Canada, said the popularity of advanced polls has been growing for years.
“The number of electors who took advantage of advanced polling was higher this year, quite a lot higher as a matter of fact, but it's a trend that we've seen, I'd say for the last four or five elections,” Grenier said. “People seem to really enjoy the practicality of being able to choose a day on which they can go and vote.”
As to whether the pandemic has impacted this year's advance poll numbers, Grenier said Elections Canada can’t be sure, but it's a possibility.
There’s also been a huge increase in people requesting mail-in ballots. Nationally the number is up 1.2 million from just 50,000 in 2019.
Mail-in ballots cast by people voting within their riding (as opposed to internationally or from another part of the county) won’t be counted until Tuesday.
That means in tight races, things might be too close to call on election night. But if the 2019 election is any indication, that’s not likely to happen in Wellington–Halton Hills or Perth–Wellington.
Mail-in ballot kits have been issued to 4,232 voters in Wellington–Halton Hills and 2,904 voters in Perth–Wellington.
In 2019, the difference between the first and second place finishers in both ridings was 10,000 votes or more.
The federal election in Monday Sept. 20. Polls will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Find information about how and where to vote here.