Average voter turnout drops nearly nine points across the region

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On average, only 33.5 per cent of eligible voters showed up to the polls across Niagara’s 12 respective municipalities for this year’s municipal elections, down 8.7 per cent from 2018. As they did four years ago, St. Catharines, Thorold, and Welland led the pack in terms of lowest turnout. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent

 

Whether due to voter fatigue, voter apathy, a glut of acclamations, or the breakdown of our democracy as we know it, Ontarians simply did not find it necessary to hit the ballot box in this year’s municipal elections. 

Across parts of the province, voter turnout hit record lows. In London, for example, the turnout plunged from nearly 40 per cent in 2018 down to 25.5 this year. In Mississauga, less than 22 per cent of the electorate showed up. In Kitchener, a mere one in five eligible voters decided to cast a ballot. 

According to the latest numbers from the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO), in all only 34 per cent of the province’s eligible voters turned up for the 2022 municipal elections, with Niagara’s 12 municipalities averaging a half point below the province-wide figure. 

Thorold registered the fewest number of ballots cast this year. Only 25.1 per cent of the central Niagara city voted for who they would like to represent them locally over the next four years. 

Welland and St. Catharines, the two lowest turnouts in 2018, came in a close second and third, respectively. A mere 25.9 per cent of the electorate in Welland exercised their right to vote this year. Only 26.3 per cent of electors in St. Catharines did the same. 

On the other end of the spectrum, though it experienced a near 11-point drop from four years ago, Niagara-on-the-Lake once again reported the highest voter turnout of any Niagara community at 47.8 per cent. 

Just behind Niagara-on-the-Lake, 43.5 per cent of eligible voters in West Lincoln showed up to vote this year. West Lincoln was the only municipality in Niagara, and one of only a handful across the province, to actually experience a higher voter turnout in 2022 vs. 2018. Of note, on the ballot locally were well-known anti-mandate mayor Dave Bylsma and Freedom Convoy leader and local councillor Harold Jonker, both of whom were soundly defeated. 

Wainfleet had the third highest turnout at 41.6 per cent. 

All other municipalities (see below), ranged from 27.5 to 37.5 per cent. 

Precisely half of Niagara’s 12 communities recorded double-digit drops in turnout, with Pelham registering an incredible 17.8 per cent fall from 2018, dropping from 50.4 to 32.6 per cent. 

Municipality Voter Turnout 2022 Voter Turnout 2018 Difference +/- %
Fort Erie 34.4 41.1 – 6.7
Grimsby 37.5 43.8 – 6.3
Lincoln 27.7 39.1 – 11.4
Niagara Falls 27.5 39.2 – 11.7
Niagara-on-the-Lake 47.8 58.7 – 10.9
Pelham 32.6 50.4 – 17.8
Port Colborne 31.6 42.8 – 11.2
St. Catharines 26.3 33.6 – 7.3
Thorold 25.1 36.1 – 11.0
Wainfleet 41.6 48.6 – 7.0
Welland 25.9 34.0 – 8.1
West Lincoln 43.5 38.4 + 5.1
AVERAGE 33.5 42.2 – 8.7

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