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Early voter turnout in Halifax elections is alarmingly low 

Electronic voting is highest among seniors, lowest with 20- to 30-year-olds.

click to enlarge ballot-box.jpg

There are still two more days of early voting, and election day itself is Saturday, but results from the first 11 days of electronic and phone voting suggest that this election may have the lowest turnout in Halifax history.

As of today at 10:45am, 40,126 people have cast votes, representing just 13.5 percent of eligible voters. This morning, election officer Cathy Mellet wouldn't make any predictions about total turnout. "With elections," she says, "you just don't know until the end of the day Saturday." But previously Mellet had anticipated that more than half of all votes would be cast electronically, through early voting. If so, and if present trends continue through to the end of electronic voting on Thursday, total voter turnout would be substantially lower than record low 37 percent of last election.

Breaking down the vote so far shows some interesting trends. About 30 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds have already voted, but that percentage drops way down to just five percent of ages 20 through 30. Only at age 31 does turnout increase to 7.5 percent, then it steadily increases to about 10 percent at age 38, then more through the 40s. Turnout is highest among those 55 and older, where rates reach 18 percent and higher.

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