New voter turnout data shows big increases in BC, youth, and on-reserve voters in the 2015 federal election


By Rachel H Roy


Elections Canada has just released voter turnout information for the 2015 federal election and the results are very interesting (and not just to election nerds like us!):

  • First time voter turnout increased nationally by nearly 18 percentage points in comparison to 2011 (from 40.5% to 58.3%)
    • Here in BC, first time voter turnout increased by a whopping 26 points! (from 39.4% to 65.7%)
  • Voter turnout among younger people (aged 18-24) increased by 18 percentage points in comparison to 2011 (from 38.8% to 57.1%)
    • In BC, 18-24 year old turnout increased by 24 points! (39.9% to 63.9%)
  • There was also a 12 percentage point bump in turnout among 25-34 year old voters (from 45.1% to 57.4%)
    • Again, BC outperformed the national average with an increase of 18 points (from 41.7% to 59.7%)
  • Voter turnout on-reserve increased nearly 15 percentage points in comparison to 2011 (from 47.4% to 61.5%)
  • Overall, voter turnout among eligible voters increased by 7.6 percentage points in comparison to 2011 (58.5% to 66.1%), which means that 2 out of every 3 Canadians voted in 2015
    • In BC, overall turnout among eligible voters increased by over 12 points (55.9% to 68.2%)
      • Note that the previously released official voter turnout of 68.3% nationally reflects turnout among registered voters, rather than eligible voters

In other election-related news, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Mark Mayrand, announced earlier this month that he’s stepping down in order to make way for a successor who will be tasked with the - in our view, enormous - task of modernizing the Canadian electoral processes. Mr. Mayrand is Canada’s 6th Chief Electoral Officer since the establishment of this position nearly a hundred years ago (in 1920).

Check out all the numbers for yourself:

Voter Turnout by Age Group

Voter Turnout by Sex and Age (broken down by province and territory)

On-Reserve Voter Turnout

Also, check out the reports about how and why people, including youth, make the decision to vote or not:

2015 National Youth Survey

Reasons for Not Voting During the 42nd General Election: Results from the Labour Force Survey

(Please excuse the number of exclamation marks and any mathematical errors: both are attributable to our excitement over this data!)