Voter turnout dropped this year to 29.3 per cent, the city’s final declaration of results, released Friday, shows.
This year saw 8,203 people cast ballots for a mayoral candidate, which represents a 134-vote drop from the 2009 election.
A record 740 votes were cast during advance polls prior to election day. Voters also had seven more candidates on this year’s municipal ballots than in 2009.
Prince Albert returning officer Cliff Skauge said he’s not sure why there was a drop in voter turnout, but that it probably has something to do with the blustery weather.
“I was hoping to eclipse the 2009 total,” he said, noting that turnout appeared down throughout much of Saskatchewan this year.
This year’s voter turnout was clocked in at 29.3 per cent this year, using mayoral ballot counts, and 33.3 per cent in 2009.
Between the two elections, Skauge notes that there was a ward boundary commission review that bumped the city’s number of eligible voters from an estimated 25,000 to 28,000.
It’s a difficult and long day, and I can’t say how much I appreciate their hard work. - Prince Albert returning officer Cliff Skauge, on this year's election staff
The ward boundary commission review also ensured that the same number of people live in each ward, within about 10 per cent.
The lowest voter turnout, as determined by the total number of electors who voted, took place in Ward 1, representing the city’s far west flat area, with 693 voters.
Ward 3, made up of the midtown/east flat area, counted a voter turnout of 1,133, with all other wards reporting higher turnouts.
The highest turnout was in Ward 8, which makes up the city’s west hill area, where 1,537 people voted.
Overall, Skauge said that election day was a smoother operation, thanks in large part to the staff of about 185 deputy returning officers hired to man polling stations, count ballots and ensure things went well.
They worked a long day from between 8 a.m. until after 11 p.m., Skauge said.
“It’s a difficult and long day, and I can’t say how much I appreciate their hard work.”