Will St. Albertans remember to vote in next week’s council byelection?
On June 24 the empty spot on St. Albert city council’s roster will be filled and former councillor Gilles Prefontaine will be replaced.
But how many voters will bother to cast a ballot?
Returning officer Chris Belke, who’s also the city’s chief legislative officer, said the most recent comparison for St. Albert is in a recent byelection in Lethbridge, another mid-sized Alberta city. The turnout there was “not really huge,” Belke said.
In 2014, the southern city went to the polls just months after the general municipal election after a councillor died.
The turnout was a mere 11.51 per cent. Only 8,392 people cast ballots out of an eligible 72,912 voters according to statistics from the City of Lethbridge.
Can St. Albert beat that?
“The more we can get the better,” Belke said.
He hadn’t heard back from advance poll workers about the Wednesday poll, but Monday’s advance poll was busy during the day but quiet at night.
There was one more day of advance polling to occur on Saturday when Belke was interviewed.
During the 2013 general municipal election, voter turnout in St. Albert was 38.13 per cent.
That was up from 34.16 per cent in the 2010 election.
St. Albert hasn’t faced a mid-term byelection in a couple of decades. The last time appears to have been in 1987 after an alderman resigned earlier in the year.
This will be voters’ second of three trips to the ballot box this year – the provincial election was held in May. A federal election is expected in October.
The provincial election sparked some of the highest voter turnouts in years across the province, with the St. Albert riding turning in some of the highest. Elections Alberta’s results say 62.6 per cent of voters turned up for the provincial election in May in St. Albert.
In the Spruce Grove-St. Albert riding, which encompasses the northwest quadrant of the city, had a voter turnout of 53.3 per cent.
The polls will be open for the municipal byelection between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on June 24. There are polling stations around the city.
More information on identification requirements and polling locations is available on the city’s website, www.stalbert.ca/election.