Advance voting turnout down
Calgarians cast ve times as many ballots compared to Edmonton
Edmonton is getting crushed in the Battle of Alberta when it comes to advance voting.
Calgary’s turnout was more than five times Edmonton’s after the first week of early-bird polls, with almost 44,300 having voted by Sunday.
Edmonton’s turnout by end of day Monday was just shy of 8,500 — slightly lower than at the same point in the previous 2013 election.
Duane Bratt, political science chair at Mount Royal University, said early interest points to a more competitive mayoral race down south.
“Voter turnout is going to be a lot higher in Calgary than it is in Edmonton,” Bratt said.“What drives voter turnout is the competitiveness of the mayor’s race. And we have a very tight, competitive race right now between Bill Smith and Naheed Nenshi in Calgary.
“In Edmonton, Don Iveson is sleepwalking to re-election. It’s him and nine crazy people.”
Calgary’s advanced voting is set to close Wednesday, while Edmonton’s runs through Friday.
Bratt said another factor in Calgary’s high early turnout is the “novelty factor” of a new drive-in poll at McMahon stadium, which allowed drivers to vote without leaving their cars.
“That got a lot of attention; people wanted to try that out,” he said.
Edmonton’s director of elections, Iain MacLean, said the city will look into launching a similar drive-through voting option for the next election.
Edmonton’s turnout was 34.5 per cent in 2013 — a slight improvement over 33.4 per cent in 2010. Bratt said he would be surprised if Edmonton even reaches 30 per cent this year.