It was a heated municipal election campaign in the region and that looks to have shown in the polls.
With preliminary data, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario says northwestern Ontario seems to have recorded the top #3 highest voting turnouts across the province in the 2022 Municipal Election.
In first place, the Municipality of Red Lake reports a 61.6 per cent turnout rate, with incumbent Mayor Fred Mota receiving a staggering 82 per cent of the town’s support. Warren Badiuk had the most votes for the Councillors position with 18 per cent of the ballots.
In second, the Town of Atikokan had a 56.1 per cent turnout, with new Mayor Rob Ferguson seeing 71 per cent support. Councillor Gordon Martin had the most votes with 959 in their position.
In third, the City of Kenora reports that 5,962 residents voted for a 53.5 per cent turnout. Mayor Andrew Poirier received 64 per cent of the votes for his seat, while Barb Manson received the most votes for the Councillor position with 11.8 per cent.
Other cities with relatively high voter turnouts include Clarence-Rockland at 44.5 per cent, Stratford at 43.9 per cent, Ottawa at 43.7 per cent, Dryden just missed the high bar at 43.2 per cent and Thunder Bay recorded a turnout of 42.9 per cent.
Notably, the 2022 Municipal Election saw historically-low voter turnouts across the province. AMO reports that across the board, Ontario saw a 33 per cent voter turnout – for just about one out of every three residents. The lowest turnout in Ontario was in Oshawa at 18.4 per cent.
That’s even worse than Ontario’s 2018 Municipal Election turnout – which hit a low of 38.3 per cent. That makes 2022’s election the lowest turnout recorded since 1982 – which is when AMO began tracking the data.
Experts say the low turnout may have been due to voter fatigue, with 3 elections taking place between Municipal, Provincial and Federal governments over the last 13 months. June’s provincial election also saw the lowest turnout in history, with the federal election being the lowest in the last decade.
As well, many Council races were won before they even started – with AMO reporting about one-third of all positions being acclaimed. Across the province, 32 Councils were entirely acclaimed.