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Albertans set records with advance voting

Albertans came out in record numbers to vote in the advance polls last week before election day, but some of those votes may not be counted immediately.

Albertans came out in record numbers to vote in the advance polls last week before election day, but some of those votes may not be counted immediately.

Between Tuesday and Saturday, almost 700,000 Albertans came out to cast their vote in the provincial election.

Drew Westwater, deputy chief electoral officer for the province of Alberta, said voters set records at the polls last week.

“It’s almost triple what we had in 2015,” Westwater said.

In 2015, some 235,000 people cast votes during the early voting period.

“We had a great turnout which (we) are very excited about.”

The Morinville-St. Albert riding had 3,405 voters choose to come out early and cast their votes in the election. In St. Albert, some 1,182 voters cast early votes. In Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, some 3,274 voters cast an early ballot.

One thing that may have helped to drive the early turnout was the opportunity to cast a “vote anywhere” ballot, which allows residents to vote at any polling station in the province.

Of the 696,000 people who cast early votes, some 473,000 voted in their riding. Those votes were counted with the rest of the votes on election day. The remaining 223,000 votes cast outside of the voters' ridings won’t begin to be counted until noon on Wednesday.

It's unclear how many St. Albertans cast their votes outside their riding.

Westwater said some ridings may not know their results until Saturday.

“If there are any close races across the province with a very narrow margin of victory for one of the candidates, they will need to wait until these 223,000 votes are counted province-wide to determine if they got the majority vote in their electoral division.”

Westwater said with lots of early voters, he anticipated plenty of people coming out on election day to cast their vote.

“We appreciate (voters') patience if there were any line-ups they attended,” Westwater said.

“If everybody shows up at the same time, sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get them through the process, but we appreciate your patience and willingness to vote,” Westwater said.

Across the province, Calgary saw some of the highest advance voter turnout, with 7,398 coming out to vote in Calgary-Foothills, 6,363 in Calgary-Bow, 6,298 in Calgary-Buffalo and 5,391 in Calgary-Fish Creek.

In Edmonton, turnout was slightly lower with Edmonton-City Centre leading with 5,257 advance voters, Edmonton-Southwest coming in second with 5,679 and Edmonton-McClung with 4,257.

Rural Alberta saw much lower numbers in early voting, with Peace River pulling 350 advance voters and Lesser Slave Lake drawing out 209 advance votes.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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