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Advance polls open for Alberta 2023 election

Voters in Alberta will have the opportunity to beat the crowds by voting ahead of election day on May 29.

Advance polls run from Tuesday until Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Hours of operation may vary for some locations, but every electoral division will have at least one spot open for the entire advance voting period.

Critics have raised concerns about the method in which the votes are calculated. 

Elections Alberta says it's very secure. 

"There's logic and accuracy testing that occurs before and after the vote takes place," said spokesperson Robyn Bell. 

"And that's done in the presence of candidates and their scrutineers. 

The counting process will begin by hand on election night after the polls close. 

All advanced poll votes are calculated by a tabulator. 

Bell says its because they have a ‘vote anywhere’ service enabled in them. 

You can visit the Elections Alberta website to find the nearest advance voting location.

Voters will have to show proper identification and proof of current address by:

  1. Providing one piece of Government-issued photo ID, including your full name, current address, and photo;
  2. Providing two pieces of ID containing your full name and one showing your current physical address;
  3. Have another registered elector in your voting area vouch for you; or
  4. Have an authorized signatory complete an attestation form.

In the last provincial election four years ago, roughly 700,000 Albertans cast their ballots in advance.

The expectation is that the same amount, if not more, voters will do the same this time.

“The historic picture of Alberta's elections are that they’ve been very one sided and generally speaking, with low turnout. In recent times, the turnout has been going up, and you have two competitive parties,” said Peter Woolstencroft, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo.

“I hope that the Calgary electorate is paying attention and that they come out and vote. There's no reason for people not to vote, because your vote will matter. Especially if you live in Calgary.”

More information on advance voting can be found here.

VOTERS FLOCK TO ADVANCED POLLS

As of 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, 86,741 people had cast a ballot in the advance polls, according to Elections Alberta.

Lorrie Walmsley moved to Calgary from BC’s interior, and says this year marks the first time she is casting a ballot in Calgary.

"This morning here, I came to go to my exercise class but the parking lot was already full," she said outside of a polling station in Haysboro.  

"People are anxious to get their vote in and have their say."

Kristina Pearson says it appears Calgary is split on who to vote for, but believes voter turnout could be big. 

"I certainly see more lawn signs for both parties in Calgary than I've ever seen before," she said. 

"I think it's going to be very divisive for the city. Edmonton seems to be well aligned and rural Alberta seems to be well aligned."

For Jack McKee, he was looking for certain criteria before casting his ballot. 

"We are looking for a party that supports education that supports health care, that is going to pursue policies and actually encourage companies to come to Alberta rather than driving away companies that want to come," he said. 

NOTLEY CASTS BALLOT

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley cast her advance vote in Calgary on Tuesday, urging more to do the same as the provincial election enters its final week.

Notley marked her ballot at an event alongside about 30 young people and says it's a myth that youth aren't politically engaged.

Polls suggest it continues to be a tight race with the edge going to Danielle Smith's United Conservative Party.

They also suggest people under 45 are leaning toward the NDP and those over 45 are gravitating to the UCP.

Notley says her party is to continue knocking on doors and holding rallies to remind voters it has a plan to reinvest in Alberta while increasing access to family doctors and avoiding budget deficits.

Notley says the election is still up for grabs, adding that many traditional conservatives have told her they will lend her party their vote in order to defeat the UCP.

"Every day, more and more conservatives are coming to me saying, 'I'm a lifelong conservative voter, but what I see in Danielle Smith and this new UCP is not my values, and I'm going to be voting NDP,'" Notley told reporters following her vote. 

SMITH CASTS BALLOT

United Conservative Party Leader Danielle Smith took advantage of an advance poll Tuesday to cast her vote in Monday's Alberta election.

Traffic at the Haysboro Community Centre in southwest Calgary was steady after the advance polls opened.

But there was only one other person inside when Smith – accompanied by her support team, security officers and a throng of media – arrived.

She was asked to verify her address, answered "yes" when asked if she was a Canadian citizen, and laughed and thanked the poll worker who asked her if she was over the age of 18.

Smith declined to speak to the media after she cast her ballot.

Both Smith and NDP Leader Rachel Notley decided to cast their advance votes in Calgary, which is considered to be a major battleground in determining the province's next premier.

- With files from the Canadian Press

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