Election bits and bites Winnipeg's turnout, how the vote stacked up against polling, and a look at voting-machine performance

Voter turnout lowest since 2006 About 42 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Winnipeg’s civic election Wednesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/10/2018 (1568 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Voter turnout lowest since 2006

About 42 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Winnipeg’s civic election Wednesday.

Of 510,275 adults who could have voted, only 214,303 did. It’s the lowest percentage since the 2006 civic election, when 38.2 per cent of potential voters went to the polls, and the second lowest turnout in the last quarter century.



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Four years ago, when newly minted second-term mayor Brian Bowman first took office, more than 50 per cent of eligible voters exercised their democratic right to vote.

Across the city’s 15 wards, turnouts varied widely. In River Heights, where John Orlikow maintained his council seat, 48.68 per cent of eligible voters voted. In Charleswood-Tuxedo, 47.68 per cent did. And in North Kildonan, 46.74 per cent voted.

Meanwhile, in the Mynarski ward, where Ross Eadie was re-elected, only 29.80 per cent of eligible voters voted, and in Point Douglas, where Vivian Santos won the seat formerly occupied by Mike Pagtakhan, only 30.51 per cent did.

In 2014, a record 235,455 votes were counted, the most ever in a city municipal election. This year, approximately 20,000 fewer mayoral votes were cast, despite the city’s population growth in the interim.


Poll predicted bigger Bowman win

Brian Bowman was elected to a second term as Winnipeg’s mayor Wednesday, coming away with 53 per cent of the vote, a figure lower than pre-election polling anticipated.

An Oct. 4 Probe Research poll commissioned by the Free Press and CTV Winnipeg had Bowman pegged to take 61 per cent of the vote, accounting for decided voters and those who were leaning toward a candidate. That same poll showed Motkaluk’s projected total to be 28 per cent. Motkaluk finished with 35.72 per cent of the vote.




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When he took office in 2014, Bowman received 47.54 per cent of the vote (111,504). With 53.30 per cent of the vote in 2018, Bowman finished with the third-lowest percentage of votes for a victorious incumbent mayor since 1971 (Glen Murray won with 50.63 in 2002; Susan Thompson with 38.30 in 1995).

The Probe poll anticipated 11 per cent of voters would fill out their ballots in favour of candidates other than Bowman and Motkaluk. Wednesday’s results almost perfectly aligned with that figure (10.98 per cent).

Tim Diack, a beat cop who threw his hat in the race, finished third with 4.92 per cent of the vote.


No glitches with vote-counting machines

Unlike voting glitches encountered in Monday’s municipal elections across Ontario, Winnipeg’s tried-and-true ballot tabulation process continues to run like a well-oiled machine.

No problems were reported with Winnipeg's ballot tabulation machines. (Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press files)

After Winnipeg voters grabbed a permanent marker and shaded in circles on their ballots indicating which candidates they supported, as well as where they stood on the future of Portage and Main, they handed their ballots to a clerk, who slid it into a specialized voting machine — which closely resembles a photocopier — that recorded what dots were filled and tallied the results in real-time.

If a spoiled ballot was entered, the machine returned it to the voter, who then had the option of recasting their vote. The city’s election website states if voters didn’t want to recast their vote, the ballot is then inserted into the machine once again.

According to the City of Winnipeg, there were 208 automatic voting machines in operation Wednesday, at a total of 193 voting locations.

Once the polls closed at 8 p.m., the deputy clerk at each station removed the machine’s memory card and drove it to city hall, where the data was uploaded into the city’s computing system.

Results are then refreshed every few minutes as new cards arrive for entry, after which they’re pushed to the city’s centralized website.

“It’s quite quick,” said Andrew Poitras of the City Clerk’s department in a video produced by the city that explains the process. The technology has been used by the city in several recent municipal elections.


Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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