The final days of an election can often bring out the worst of desperate campaign tactics. Suffering from lack of sleep and with no runway room left to correct the record, campaigns plot regrettable moves that don’t always reflect where the party leaders would have envisioned their campaign was headed, 76 days ago.
Even though the final week is a tough time for the campaigners, it’s also when voter interest reaches its peak. As proof, this past Thanksgiving weekend we saw record numbers come out to cast their ballot in the advance polls.
Regardless of the long lines and delays, a record number, 3.6 million voters across Canada turned out to vote at the advance polls — a 71 per cent increase from the 2.1 million who voted in advance in the 2011 general election according to Elections Canada. British Columbia was the province with the largest increase in voter turnout at an increase of 95 per cent over 2011. And the Ontario riding of Ottawa Centre had 18,751 advance votes cast, the most of any riding in Canada.
Voters managed to make taking a selfie cool again– as long as it was outside of the polling station. So many voting selfies appeared on social media channels that it prompted Elections Canada to have to remind voters you can’t take photos inside a polling station. Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and CBC shared stories of the voting selfie, capturing social media images of proud voters, including this idyllic family photo of parents taking their daughter to vote for the first time.
High voter turnout can be attributed to a combination a tighter race, a long campaign, relatively good weather, the extra day of the long weekend, and political passions flaring as families assembled for Thanksgiving.
On Monday, 25.8 million eligible voters will get their opportunity to cast their ballot. Once they are counted, may this positive story outshine the negative ads and dirty campaign tactics that usually result in voter apathy. And so long as you do it outside the polling station, feel free to take a selfie.