Vote-anywhere option draws record numbers to advance polls in Alberta election

A new rule allows people to vote outside of their home constituencies during advance polls

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, left to right, Alberta Liberal Party leader David Khan, Alberta New Democrat Party leader and incumbent premier Rachel Notley and Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel greet each before the start of the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan)

Record numbers of Albertans are turning out to cast ballots at advance polls for Tuesday’s provincial election.

About 127,000 came out Thursday to bring a three-day total to 403,000, with advance polling continuing today and Saturday.

READ MORE: Notley promises honest, scandal-free government if re-elected in Alberta

The numbers have already shattered the previous record for advance voting set in 2015, when 235,000 people cast ballots ahead of the election.

About 44,000 of those who ventured out Thursday took advantage of a change in election rules that allows them to vote outside of their home constituencies during advance polls.

Figures show 127,000 people have taken advantage of that option so far.

On election day, people will still have to vote within their constituencies.

The vote-anywhere change was introduced in December 2017.

Elections Alberta has said the new rule could have an effect on how advance poll votes are handled, because ballots must be counted in Edmonton.

The office estimates that, in one instance, courier time could be up to two days from Fort McMurray and counting would not begin until the morning after the election.

Pamela Renwick, an office spokeswoman, told CTV News that an example of the potential delay would be having two candidates in an electoral division within 100 votes of each other, but there still being 1,000 ballots to be counted.

“For close races, definitely, we’re going to be waiting on the results before we’ll know who is the winner in that electoral division,” she said.

The Alberta election in May 2015 drew 57 per cent of all eligible voters — the highest turnout since the 1979 election when 58 per cent of the electorate participated and elected Peter Lougheed’s Progressive Conservatives to their third straight term in government.

The best turnout in the province’s history occurred in 1935 when 82 per cent of eligible voters came out and swept the newly founded Social Credit Party of Alberta into power, unseating the 14-year government of the United Farmers of Alberta.

The worst showing was in 2008 when 41 per cent cast ballots. It was held a little over a year after Ed Stelmach won a leadership race to replace Ralph Klein as PC leader and premier. The Tories won a decisive majority. (CTV Edmonton, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Eleventh Annual Battle River Ride for STARS flies past goals

There is also a STARS ride near Rumsey in late summer every year

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of two children

The RCMP can confirm that these children were siblings

Coronation RCMP encouraging residents to join the #9PMRoutine

It’s 9 p.m. Are you locked up and secure for the night?

Community mourns the deaths of two Maskwacis toddlers

Siblings found drowned on family’s property

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Bashaw seed cleaning plant holds official opening

New facility operating well since January

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Most Read