Voter turnout up slightly in E-JDF

  • May. 3, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Voter turnout increased slightly in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca and nationally.

On Monday 61.4 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot nation wide, up from 59.1 per cent in 2008. Locally, turnout was above the national average, with 66.2 per cent participation, up from 64.6 per cent in the previous election.

With incumbent MP Keith Martin (Liberal) resigning his seat, pollsters predicted a close race. Indeed, the final count saw under 400 votes difference between the frontrunner Randall Garrison (NDP) and Troy DeSouza (Conservative), both of whom were running for their third federal campaign in the riding. The new Liberal candidate, Lillian Szpak, was a distant third, behind by nearly 20,000 votes.

“I think here the Liberal vote was artificially high (in 2008) because of Keith Martin—who was a fine person who drew votes from all across the political spectrum,” said Garrison. “I think we’ve reverted back to the normal B.C. pattern here, where it’s actually New Democrats who beat Conservatives.”

While he hadn’t yet seen the demographic breakdown of who voted for him, Garrison suspected his success depended on receiving the vote of the many young families living on the west shore. Youth voters were also targeted in his campaign.

“We had a very strong social media campaign and a very strong response from youth. My campaign team is probably the youngest campaign team I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding that his sign coordinator was a Grade 11 student at Belmont—not even old enough to vote.

“Youth were very involved in this campaign and that’s the message we carried out into the public—that youth can make a difference.”

 

Preliminary results:

Randall Garrison (NDP) – 26,198

Troy DeSouza (Conservative ) – 25,792

Lillian Szpak (Liberal) – 6,409

Shaunna Salsman (Green) – 5,351

Louis Lesosky (Independent) – 181

Christopher Porter (CAP) – 145

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