Voter Turnout Up in Ward 7 By-Election Despite Pandemic

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Voter turnout for Windsor, Ont.'s Ward 7 by-election was up despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Official results were released Thursday confirming Jeewen Gill will replace Liberal MP for Windsor-Tecumseh Irek Kusmierczyk after garnering close to 20 per cent of the votes Monday night.

In what seems to be politics coming full circle, Kusmierczyk won the 2013 by-election to replace MPP Percy Hatfield in Ward 7 that saw 22 per cent of voters make it to the polls.

Manager of Records and Elections Terri Knight-Lepain says nearly 28 per cent of registered voters hit the polls in 2020.

"Obviously we'd love to see 100 per cent of the electorate engaged, but I don't know that has ever happened in the history of elections unless voting is legally mandated. Overall we were very happy," she says.

She tells AM800 News the polls recovered from a slow start.

"Maybe as voters heard about the curbside voting we had available and the safety measures we had in place, it may have given them more confidence to actually come into the polls and vote," she added.

Knight-Lepain says the curbside voting option was originally for seniors and people with mobility issues, but it quickly became the voting method of choice.

"We were able to adapt and get more staff out there. It really took off and we were encouraged to see that and it's definitely something we'll be considering for future elections," she says.

Gill will be sworn in later this week and is expected to attend his first council meeting on Oct. 19, according to Knight-Lepain.