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UCP leadership campaigns reach out after thousands of mail-in ballots are rejected

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Thousands of mail-in ballots in the United Conservative Party leadership vote have been rejected and now some voters are receiving phone calls and emails telling them they'll have to vote in person on Thursday.

One such email is from the Danielle Smith leadership campaign, which claims to be an "emergency notice" to the person that their ballot has not been received by the UCP.

"We asked the UCP party to send the email to those whose ballots have not been verified (received), on behalf of our campaign. This is the mechanism all campaigns use to email party members," said a spokesperson with the Smith campaign.

The party confirms that campaigns are contacting people who have not had a ballot that has been received or if their mail-in ballot was rejected.

About 97 per cent of the mail-in ballots that were sent in to choose the UCP's next leader and Alberta's next premier have been verified, a party spokesperson said.

As of Tuesday night, nearly 82,000 ballots had been sent in, meaning thousands of them have been rejected.

"The rest were rejected because they did not meet the requirements, such as an unsigned declaration form or invalid identification. If a mail-in ballot was rejected, that individual is not marked as voted and is still eligible to vote in person," said Dave Prisco, the UCP's director of communications.

In-person voting will happen at five locations in Alberta between 8 a.m. and noon Thursday. Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Taber and Slave Lake are all hosting in-person voting locations.

All of the votes will be counted in Calgary and the city's BMO Centre will be where the new leader will be announced Thursday afternoon. 

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