Officials say nearly 75,000 people cast ballots in advance polls in Calgary
Advance polls are now closed in the Calgary municipal election but officials say they’ve seen an unprecedented amount of people filling out their ballots during the period.
In the seven days of advance polling, nearly 75,000 people came out to vote, with 16,000 on Wednesday alone.
It’s a huge number, especially compared to the last two elections where only about 22,000 people voted ahead of Election Day in 2013 and just over 23,000 in 2010.
Political experts say that the tight race between the incumbent Naheed Nenshi and Bill Smith could explain the vast amount of ballots already cast. They say it could be because a number of factors, including the feeling that voters could have a sense that their vote holds more weight than before.
The platforms of both candidates could also explain the high turnout. Nenshi and Smith have very different policies in mind, so voters could have already decided who they are supporting based on those.
Finally, the controversy in the past couple of weeks could also be affecting the race, solidifying stances on issues and feelings about a candidate’s character.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, calls it a confirmation bias.
“If you already know you’re going to vote for Nenshi or Smith and you see this stuff, you focus on the stuff that’s going to make the other guy look bad and ignore or rationalize the stuff that makes your own candidate go up.”
He says that there could still be people on the fence and whatever happens in the final few days before Election Day could sway them one side or the other.
Meanwhile, a new poll has put Nenshi ahead of Smith. The study, conducted by the LRT on the Green Foundation, has put the incumbent 15 points ahead of the newcomer.
It’s a stark contrast from another poll from Mainstreet Research that showed Smith 17 points ahead of Nenshi.
Calgarians head to the polls on October 16.
The official Advance Vote tally from the City of Calgary is below:
- Advance Vote Bus – 1,779
- Falconridge/Castleridge Community Association – 2,202
- Marlborough Park Community Association – 1,833
- Saddletowne Library – 3,713
- St. Hubert Elementary School – 1,552
- Village Square Leisure Centre – 2,172
- Vivo – 5,114
- Auburn Bay Residents Association – 3,306
- Bow Valley College – 449
- Millican/Ogden Community Association – 1,605
- Monsignor J.S. Smith Junior High School – 2,489
- Municipal Building Atrium (City Hall) – 2,828
- Southcentre Mall Community Room – 4,518
- 18th Scout Hall – 3,257
- First Lutheran Church – 4,027
- Memorial Park Library – 2,902
- Monsignor J.J. O’Brien Elementary/Junior High School – 2,998
- Mount Royal University – 1,122
- Nicholls Family Library – 2,334
- Southland Leisure Centre – 4,928
- Crescent Heights Community Hall – 4,002
- Crowfoot Library – 5,705
- Drive-up Pilot (McMahon Stadium) – 3006
- St. Basil Elementary/Junior High School – 3,810
- SAIT – 591
- University of Calgary – 2,723