Five months ago, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated, "If we can get the issues out and get more people voting, we can get rid of Harper."
Today, the Harper government has been soundly defeated having lost 67 seats (including numerous high-profile cabinet ministers) last night. And Stephen Harper has announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative party. A key part of this outcome was that about 3 million more people voted in this election than in the May 2011 election.
To encourage people to 'Go Vote', Barlow spoke at ten town hall meetings across the country this past April to June, while our youth vote campaigner Brigette DePape helped to mobilize 'game-changers' on five campuses across the country in February to March. In addition, we posted a youth 'Go Vote' video that reached more than 1 million people, distributed more than 150,000 voters guides and how to vote guides, handed out more than 4,000 'Go Vote' buttons, 39 chapters organized 195 actions to encourage voter participation in this election, we kept mobilizing students and young workers through various days of action, and much more.
In 2011, 61.4 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. That's about 14.8 million people. In the October 2015 election, about 68 per cent, or 17.5 million people, cast a ballot. Given 70,000 students and Indigenous peoples voted in advance polls on university campuses and at friendship centres, we fully expect that more youth and Indigenous people voted in this election too.
The Toronto Star reports this morning that this election had the highest voter turnout since the 1993 federal election.
It is notable that while the Conservative vote only dropped by about 235,000 votes (5.832 million in 2011, 5.597 million in 2015), their share of the popular vote dropped dramatically (39.62 per cent in 2011, 31.9 per cent in 2015). While we would have preferred a minority government, and believe that our electoral system is flawed when 39.5 per cent of the popular vote translates into 54 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons (as happened last night), we put our issues and concerns out there and voters expressed their will through the ballot box.
For our initial analysis of the outcome of last night's election and how we move forward in our key campaign areas, please click here.
Early indications give hope for a higher voter turnout this election (October 2015 blog)