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MALTATODAY 27 March 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 27 MARCH 2022 ELECTION 2022 Reporting by Matthew Vella, Kurt Sansone, Karl Azzopardi, and Matthew Agius LABOUR Party insiders were shocked yesterday to see that turnouts at 2pm for the 2022 election had just climbed above the 44% mark, unprecedented in recent history. The official 10pm turnout was not available at the time of going to print, with results issued by the Electoral Com- mission expected at 2am. But less than half of registered voters yesterday cast their ballots by 2pm than in 2017. The Electoral Commission announced that the approximate voting turnout up till 2pm was 40.45%, with 143,628 votes cast so far, out of Malta's 355,075 eligible voters. But the turnout was then revised to 44.8% after the Nationalist Party's elec- toral office Elcom informed the Electoral Commission that its data had erroneous- ly ignored the ballots for early voting. Early voting took place in the week preceding the 26 March. The PN said the total number of voters that the Electoral Commission said had cast their ballot by 2pm, 143,628, did not include the 15,289 electors who cast their ballot in the days before. That would raise the 2pm turnout from 40% to 44.8% of Malta's registered 355,075 voters, a drop of 7.9 points from 2017. Going by the PN's data, the major drops in turnout at 2pm occurred inside La- bour strongholds: a 10-point drop in the 2nd district (Cottonera), and an 8-point drop in the 4th district (Paola, Tarxien). Even traditional Nationalist strongholds such as the 12th districts (Mellieha, Naxxar) clocked an 8.5 percentage point drop. Government ministers and party vol- unteers were in a frenzy to reach out to voters and bring out the Labour vote yesterday, a continuation of Prime Min- ister Robert Abela's appeal to the Labour faithful during his last mass rally at the MFCC in Ta' Qali. The day was marked with telephone calls made by Labour ministers and even the prime minister himself, getting in touch with Labour voters who had not yet cast their ballots in the morning, in a bid to convince them to turn out for the vote. Ministers hit the phones to turn out the vote in Labour districts Robert Abela (top) cast his vote at Marsaskala at 9am, while Bernard Grech voted in Mosta at 10am PHOTOS: JAMES BIANCHI, RAY ATTARD

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