TORONTO - Less than half of all eligible Ontario voters cast ballots in the provincial election, marking the first time turnout has dipped below 50 per cent.
Preliminary figures from Elections Ontario show that the unofficial voter turnout in Thursday's election was about 49.2 per cent.
Voter turnout has been steadily declining for years, but this is a new historic low in Ontario elections.
In 2007, the last provincial election, 52.1 per cent of voters went to the polls and in 2003 the voter turnout was 56.8 per cent.
In a riding-by-riding analysis, voter turnout appears to have been lowest in areas just outside Toronto, with Mississauga-Brampton South seeing the smallest turnout at 37.3 per cent.
According to preliminary numbers, the riding with the highest turnout was Huron-Bruce, where about 60.1 per cent of voters cast their ballots.
That riding is where Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell lost her seat to Conservative Lisa Thompson, general manager of the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative.