Voter turnout 152% higher than last Calgary election on 1st day of advance polls

The first day of advance voting saw more than twice the turnout compared with Calgary's last election, with 9,670 ballots cast on Wednesday, officials say.

9,670 ballots cast on Wednesday compared with 3,831 in the 2013 election's opening day for early voting

Election Calgary's drive-up voting station at McMahon Stadium attracted almost 900 voters on its first day, Wednesday. (CBC)

The first day of advance voting saw more than twice the turnout compared with Calgary's last election, with 9,670 ballots cast on Wednesday, officials say.

On the first day of advance voting in the 2013 election, 3,831 voters cast a ballot. In the 2010 election, 3,020 voters came out on the first day of early voting.

Elections Calgary manager Paul Denys say the 152-per cent higher turnout compared to 2013 meant significant lineups for voters at advance voting stations across the city.

"I think that the endeavours that we undertook to make voting more accessible are definitely paying off," said Denys.

"And it appears that candidates have mobilized people to be interested in the upcoming election."

The city's pilot project, a drive-up polling station at McMahon Stadium, drew 866 voters.

It was originally set up to serve 10 vehicles at a time, but after seeing the high volume of traffic, Denys says they will double the number of officers on site.

"Which means that we may be able to open up an extra lane, but it will improve how quickly we can get the ballots to the elector in the vehicle so that we can get them on their way faster," he said.

Might not translate into higher overall turnout

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says high voter turnout in advance voting doesn't necessarily mean overall turnout will be up.

"I just wonder if what advance polling does is get those that were voting anyway voting earlier," he said.

"There's no doubt that advance polling numbers have gone up. But voter turnout numbers have not."

The drive-up station is open Thursday and Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. All other advance voting stations are open Oct. 4-11, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Oct. 9.

The City of Calgary has created an interactive map you can use to find the advance voting station nearest you.

Election day is Oct. 16.