Since 2004, Elections Canada has produced turnout estimates by age group for each federal general election. The studies also provide a breakdown by province, and since 2008, by gender. These estimates are an indispensable source of information for those concerned with youth voter turnout at the federal level. For each election, they show that there is a considerable electoral imbalance between young and older Canadians.
For the 2011 election, turnout steadily increased with age, from 38.8% for ages 18–24 to 75.1% for ages 65–74, and then declined to 60.3% for those 75 and older. This same general pattern has been seen in every general election since 2004.… Continue reading »
While the 2011 study shows an electoral imbalance between age groups, it also shows signs that turnout improved compared to the previous federal election, held in 2008. The official turnout rate for 2011 was 61.1% – an increase of 2.3 percentage points over the all-time low of 58.8% experienced in 2008. This overall change was driven by even greater increases among certain age groups. For example, among youth who were eligible to vote for the first time, turnout increased from 35.6% in 2008 to 40.5% in 2011 – a statistically significant jump of nearly 5 percentage points.
The study also shows that the use of alternative voting methods – advance polls or special ballots – tends to increase with age. In 2011, 5% of the youngest age groups voted using alternative methods, increasing to 17% for those aged 65–74. Use of advance polls was higher in 2011 than for each of the three previous elections in each age group.
Turnout estimates are derived using administrative data from the electoral process, based on a random sample of 1,800 polling stations drawn from 60 randomly selected electoral districts.