The data is out: see who voted in Lunenburg’s mayoral by-election

Showing notable consistency and strong political engagement, Lunenburgers showed up at the polls last week for a municipal by-election for the position of Mayor at a rate higher than most Nova Scotia municipalities see in a general election electing an entire municipal council.

Statistics on special mayoral by-election results released by the Town of Lunenburg this week reveal the demographics and turnout for voters in last week’s election, held at the peak of summer and for a single position, are similar to the October 2020 municipal general election that elected an entire council.

Municipal election participation higher in Lunenburg than most Nova Scotia municipalities

In last week’s election, 59.1 per cent of eligible voters, or 1,194 people, participated.

The last municipal election held in Lunenburg, during Nova Scotia’s October 2020 municipal elections, had a participation rate of 64.1 per cent, or 1,243 people.

This is a difference of just 49 fewer votes, while the population of eligible voters increased by 82 people.

Mayor-elect Jamie Myra won the election with 811 votes, or 68.26 per cent. 

Following the results announcement, Myra told The Barnacle when asked about his opinion on the turnout and results, “I think it means that people are engaged. I think it means people are very interested. It means people weren’t happy with the direction that the current group was taking, and the former Mayor was taking.”

Runner-up Gale Fullerton, in her first campaign for public office, ended up with 377 votes or 31.73 per cent.

Fullerton told The Barnacle, “I’m pleased with the turnout. A lot of people came out and voted. I did not think we would have that percentage of the voters getting out and voting for a by-election and in August. However, I am pleased that many did come out to vote. Clearly, they care. They mean what they say when they say they want a voice, and they’ve spoken.”

It’s significant that a by-election for one position captured a similar number of votes to the last general election for a full council, and that a by-election had a higher turnout than many Nova Scotia municipalities had in their last municipal general election.

While statistics on the overall turnout for all 2020 municipal elections across Nova Scotia are not immediately available, the CBC reports that overall voter turnout in the 2016 municipal elections for Nova Scotia was 46 per cent

In Lunenburg County’s municipalities other than Lunenburg, in the 2020 general municipal election:

In some other Nova Scotia municipalities, in 2020:

Lunenburg voters concentrated largely within the 60-to-79-year-old demographic

From the 2020 municipal general election to last week’s election, the Town of Lunenburg’s pool of eligible voters increased by 82 people or 4.22 per cent, from 1,939 to 2,021.

This represents Lunenburg’s adult demographics shifting slightly younger. Voters aged 18-59 have 80 more people in 2023 compared to 2020, while voters aged 60 or older only have two more people.

However, Lunenburg’s residents aged 60 or older are greater in population, and vote in greater numbers. 

More than half of eligible voters are aged 60 or older, and these voters had a turnout 11.39 per cent higher than younger voters. 

(A chart in the Town of Lunenburg’s 2023 election statistics showing votes by age range. Source: Town of Lunenburg)

There were 933 eligible voters aged 19-59, while there were 1,088 eligible voters aged 60 or older. 

Out of the 19-59 cohort, turnout was 52.94 per cent with 494 votes. 

For those aged 60 or older, turnout was 64.33 per cent with 700 votes, mostly aged 60-79.

Voting population has nearly 27% more women than men – genders have near-equal turnout percentage

Breaking down the results by gender – 55.1 per cent of all votes were cast by women, 43.97 per cent by men, and 0.92 per cent by people of an unrecorded gender.

(Source: Town of Lunenburg)

There are 26.81 per cent more eligible voters who are women than men in the Town of Lunenburg, with 1,116 women and 880 men. 

Across these genders, turnout percentage is nearly equal – 59 per cent of women voted and 59.7 per cent of men voted. 

The population difference in genders is significant across older age ranges. Among voters aged 60 and older, there are 642 women, and 445 men – 44 per cent more women than men.

Across voters aged 18-59, the gender difference is less prominent. There were 474 eligible women and 435 men. 

Gender was not recorded for 25 people, among whom 11 voted, for a voter participation of 44 per cent.

Fun 2023 municipal by-election facts

  • While no one at all voted between 2 a.m. to 3:59 a.m., one person voted between 4 and 4:59 a.m., and it was on the last day of voting. They may have finally formed their decision in a dream.
  • Forty-three people jumped at the bit to vote in the first hour possible, and seven people left their choice to the last hour.
  • In the 2023 election, Lunenburg has 12 eligible voters aged 100 or older, and they are all women. This number was 11 in 2020.
  • Lunenburg loves Apple at a rate notably higher than the general population. Out of the 615 votes cast by desktop computers, there were 297 votes on Macs compared to 293 votes on Windows machines. This is while web analytics service Statcounter reports 67.44 per cent of Canadians in July 2022 use a Windows operating system, while only 24.85 per cent use Apple’s macOS.
  • Twenty-five technically-savvy folk voted on the Linux operating system.
  • The 2020 election had one person vote from a desktop using a computer with the Windows XP operating system, which was released in August 2001 and had mainstream support end in 2009. We are at the end of an era, with no one in 2023 voting with Windows XP.
  • One person voted from a Smart TV in 2020. In 2023, they either didn’t vote, or used a method other than their television.

See the statistics for yourself

2023 Special Election Statistics:

2020 General Election Statistics:


2 responses to “The data is out: see who voted in Lunenburg’s mayoral by-election”

  1. Alison F Strachan

    Thanks to The Barnacle (and the Town of Lunenburg) for showing just how engaged voters are in this Town. This one sentence is key:

    “Municipal election participation higher in Lunenburg than most Nova Scotia municipalities”

  2. Rachel Martin

    Thank you to the Barnacle for such excellent reporting.

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