"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

But what does it mean?

According to statistics published Wednesday by Elections Newfoundland and Labrador, 4% of the voters list, almost on the nose, voted in advance polls. (This does not include other early voters who voted through special ballots or in the local returning office.)

Twenty districts had advance-voting rates higher than 4%. Most of these were in the greater St. John's area:

Grand Falls-Windsor–Buchans      8.00%
Signal Hill–Quidi Vidi 7.67%
Cartwright–L’Anse au Clair 6.52%
St. John’s West 6.46%
St. John’s East 6.39%
Carbonear–Harbour Grace 5.61%
St. John’s South 5.50%
St. John’s Centre 5.44%
Port de Grave 5.30%
Virginia Waters 4.94%
Mount Pearl South 4.88%
St. John’s North 4.67%
Humber Valley 4.61%
Mount Pearl North 4.60%
Conception Bay East–Bell Island 4.58%
Humber East 4.37%
Gander 4.32%
Conception Bay South 4.32%
Cape St. Francis 4.30%
Burin–Placentia West 4.20%

Bringing up the rear were Torngat Mountains (1.36%), Bay of Islands (1.9%), Burgeo–La Poile (1.91%), Trinity–Bay de Verde (2.08%), St. Barbe (2.14%) and Fortune Bay—Cape La Hune (2.15%). The remote coastal districts in northern Labrador and the south coast of Newfoundland were the target of Elections Newfoundland and Labrador special ballot efforts, which may have diverted early voters from the "Advance" line to the "Special Ballots" one.

In the current election, six of the ten highest advance-vote districts were in metro St. John's. In 2007, only three were. The top ten, interestingly enough, were almost all seats heavily targetted by Danny Williams-Government for pickup or hold, starting with Signal Hill–Quidi Vidi (7.7%), then on through Carbonear–Harbour Grace, Grand Falls–Windsor–Buchans, Port de Grave, Exploits (Liberal in 2003, picked up by the PCs in a by-election), Lake Melville (a narrow margin in 2003), Humber Valley (a Liberal by-election pickup in 2007), St. John’s East, Torngat Mountains (a narrow PC pickup in 2007), and St. John’s West.

Most of the rural target seats this year, for any of the parties, and for pickup or hold, have below-average advance turnout rates: Lake Melville, Baie Verte–Springdale, Grand Falls–Windsor–Green Bay South, The Straits–White Bay North, Bonavista North, St. George’s–Stephenville East, The Isles of Notre Dame, Labrador West, Bellevue, Fortune Bay–Cape La Hune, St. Barbe, Burgeo–La Poile, Bay of Islands, Torngat Mountains.)

This may mean that the Tories and NDP are pumping GOTV resources into St. John's, and that the Tories are doing so at the expense of the formerly strenuous GOTV efforts in potential rural battleground districts in the Williams-era general and by-elections.

Alternatively, in rural areas, GOTV efforts may have focused instead on the special ballot mechanism rather than advance voting.

Or... it may all mean nothing at all. We shall see soon enough.

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