by Stacey Lavallie
ONTARIO—More than half of the registered and eligible voters in Ontario chose to stay home and not vote in the provincial election on October 6, statistics from Elections Ontario show.
Though Ontarians had the opportunity to vote on both election day and during advance polls held in the weeks leading to October 6, only 49.2 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, an email from Julia Bennett, a communications officer with Elections Ontario, revealed.
This is down from the 2007 general election turnout, which saw 52.1 percent of the province’s eligible voters head out to vote.
Even though voter turnout in Algoma-Manitoulin was higher than the provincial average, with 52.4 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot, it is down from the 54.5 percent turnout in 2007.
The Ontario Liberal Party, led by Dalton McGuinty, lost its eight-year-long, two-term majority power over the Ontario Legislature by one seat. Requiring 54 seats to hold a majority government, the Liberals secured 53. This is down 18 seats from the 2007 result of 71.
The Progressive Conservatives gained 11 seats from the Liberals, taking Barrie, Chatham-Kent, Huron-Bruce, Kitchener-Conestoga, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Nipissing, Northumberland-Quinte West, Perth-Wellington, Prince Edward-Hastings, Stormont-Dundas South and Glengarry.
The NDP secured seven seats from the Liberals, taking the Davenport, Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Algoma-Manitoulin, Essex, Hamilton Mountain, London-Fanshawe and Timiskaming-Cochrane ridings.
Of the ridings, Northumberland-Quinte West will require a recount as the margin between the first and second candidate is less than one percent.
In the North, Sudbury’s Rick Bartolucci, Sudbury MPP, held on to his seat ‘by the skin of his nose’ and 501 votes. NDP challenger Paul Loewenberg held strong most of the evening, but as the final polls closed, Mr. Bartolucci slipped ahead. Temiskaming-Cochrane’s NDP candidate, John Vanthof, took advantage of a green Liberal candidate to take the riding for the NDP. Most of Northern Ontario voted NDP, with Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay-Superior and Thunder Bay-Atikokan remaining in Liberal hands. The Conservatives won the Nipissing and Parry Sound ridings.
The Expositor will follow up with Elections Ontario to provide polling-station specific information once it becomes available.