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The Globe and Mail

Voter turnout hits dispiriting low in Ontario

A woman makes her way to a Toronto polling station as voters cast their ballots in the Ontario election on Oct. 6, 2011.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Although it could be weeks before elections officials provide a the final tally, back-of-envelope calculations suggest the turnout in Thursday's Ontario provincial election may have dropped to an unprecedented and dispiriting low.

Of the roughly 8.5 million citizens who were eligible to vote, about 4.1 million, or 48 per cent, appear to have cast ballots. This despite fine weather across the province.

Traditionally, the party with the better organization profits from a low voter turnout. There will be much analysis in the days to come over whether the Conservatives or the Liberals profited from the dismal numbers.

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The results contrast with the federal election last May, where turnout modestly increased, to just over 61 per cent.

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About the Author
Writer-at-large

John Ibbitson started at The Globe in 1999 and has been Queen's Park columnist and Ottawa political affairs correspondent.Most recently, he was a correspondent and columnist in Washington, where he wrote Open and Shut: Why America has Barack Obama and Canada has Stephen Harper. He returned to Ottawa as bureau chief in 2009. More

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