While the Progressive Conservatives may have won an overwhelming victory on Thursday night, a large majority of Ontarios decided not to go to the polls.
The province recorded its lowest turnout in history in the 2022 election, with only about 43.5 percent of eligible voters casting a vote according to preliminary Ontario election results.
Of the province’s just over 10.7 million registered voters, this equates to just over 4.6 million votes cast.
That is about 13.5 percentage points lower than the turnout in the Provincial Council elections of 2018.
The last time voter turnout was below 50 percent was in 2011, when only 48 percent of Ontario residents over the age of 18 voted.
No other time in Ontario’s history has attendance dropped so low.
Vandana Kattar, a strategist in the Prime Minister’s Office, attributed the low turnout to a lack of engagement between politicians and Ontario residents, which may have led to a lack of motivation on Election Day.
“I notice voters didn’t understand what they were voting for,” she said during CTV News’ Ontario election special on Thursday. “I think more than negative politics, people don’t want to hear what the other guy isn’t going to do. They want to hear what you’re going to do for you. And that comes down to not getting your message and not sharing.”
PCs HAVE WON 40.8% OF THOSE VOTE
According to the preliminary results, Doug Ford’s progressive conservatives won by just over 1.9 million votes, leading to 83 seats in the legislature.
The New Democratic Party, which formed Ontario’s official opposition on Thursday night, retained 23.7 percent of the vote (31 seats), while the Liberals gained some ground with 23.6 percent of the vote (eight seats).
The Green Party won about six percent of the vote, resulting in one seat in the legislature.
Speaking to reporters in Etobicoke Friday morning, Ford seemed unconcerned about the low turnout and reiterated that the Ontarians had made a strong choice on Election Day.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the people have given us a mandate with 83 seats and we’re going to focus on our mandate. We’ve been traveling through this province for the past four to five weeks and set a clear direction.”
Ford also said he would not focus on electoral reform, an item that other parties have cited in their campaign platforms. He said the system has worked for “more than 100 and several odd years”.
“It will continue to work that way,” he told reporters.