Advance Polling Breaks Records
Posted on April 11, 2019
Advance polling is currently open. If you will be away from the province on April 16, you may vote between April 9 and April 13 at any polling location in the province. Polling locations can be found on the Elections Alberta website.
Elections Alberta has released the advance voting numbers from the first day and it is certainly surprising. On Tuesday alone, more than 140,000 Albertans voted in advance polls across the province. This is more than double the number of voters from the same period in the 2015 provincial election and more than double the total number of Albertans who voted in advanced polls during the 2008 election. The new ‘vote anywhere’ ballots have been popular as well; more than 33,000 Albertans have already taken advantage of the new service.
High advance poll participation can mean one of two things. Either the electorate is very engaged in the campaign this year and voter turnout throughout the voting period will be high, or many Albertans have already decided who to vote for and have chosen to vote early in an attempt to avoid long queues on election day. Either scenario is possible, however, it is worth noting that in the previous six elections, voter participation in Alberta has often hovered around 50 per cent but advance voter turnout has increased dramatically.
The 2017 UCP leadership race continues to be mired in controversy. However, the kamikaze campaign allegations have taken a backseat this week. Instead, new information has been revealed regarding voter fraud during the leadership election itself. CBC investigative journalists found that a number of fake emails were assigned to party members which were then used to vote in the leadership contest. There is already an ongoing RCMP investigation regarding allegations of voter fraud during the leadership race stemming from former UCP MLA Prab Gill’s accusation that the Kenney campaign used fake emails to help win the leadership race. The RCMP is also investigating potential campaign finance violations from the 2017 UCP leadership race in connection with the alleged Jeff Callaway kamikaze campaign.
A police investigation regarding a political party does not look great heading into an election, let alone two. However, both of these stories and their respective investigations have been frequently brought up during the campaign with seemingly little to no effect on the UCP’s polling across the province. With so little time left before Albertans go to the polls, it is unlikely that any ground breaking details will emerge. However, if this election has taught us anything it is that nothing is beyond the realm of possibilities.
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Alberta election agency reports record turnout for advance polling, by James Keller with the Globe and Mail
- Elections Alberta said the 140,000 ballots cast this past Tuesday was more than double the turnout on the first day of advance voting in 2015. Of those early voters, 33,000 took advantage of new changes to the province’s election law, brought in by the NDP government.
Fraudulent emails used to cast votes in UCP leadership race, CBC finds, by Drew Anderson with CBC News
- Documents obtained by CBC News show email addresses fraudulently attached to Alberta’s United Conservative Party memberships were used to cast ballots in the party’s leadership race, which Jason Kenney won in 2017.
Notley insists NDP gaining ground in Calgary, will spend rest of campaign here, by Bill Kaufmann with the Calgary Herald
- Rachel Notley claims the NDP are narrowing the gap with the UCP in Calgary, and suggests she will spend the majority of the time remaining in the campaign trail in the region. The critical region has been dominated by the UCP, past polls have suggested.
‘I’ve got four parties to my right’: Is Jason Kenney conservative enough for Alberta?, by Tyler Dawson with the Edmonton Journal
- Tyler Dawson discusses how even though Jason Kenney has endured criticism from his rivals, and notably Rachel Notley, who has accused the UCP leader of being too right-wing, some in Alberta might view him as not conservative enough.
Calgary vs. Edmonton: Jason Kenney criss-crosses province in intense campaign, by Emma Graney witht the Edmonton Journal
- Emma Graney writes about the active approach Jason Kenney has taken to dominate the Calgary ridings and how he’s now spending the bulk of his time, energy, and cash to try and see a similar result in Edmonton.