Former health chair Ken Hughes wins Calgary West nomination
Riding's current MLA Ron Liepert turned away for not having proper ID
Ken Hughes won the Calgary West provincial Progressive Conservatives nomination Saturday — the second time a vote was held for the riding.
Hughes, former Alberta Health Services chairman, will round out the governing party's roster for the upcoming election, as Calgary West was the last riding nomination to be filled.
Shiraz Shariff, who was briefly declared the winner in the first contest, finished in second place, with Allan Ryan coming in third.
The result of an earlier vote in January was thrown out by the party because of voting irregularities. The riding association received complaints that a significant number of ineligible voters were able to cast a ballot.
Tighter rules were imposed for Saturday’s second round. Voters were required to have two pieces of ID with an address, plus proof of citizenship.
Long lines for voting
PC members flooded to the polls to vote Saturday. Long lines formed at 11 a.m., when the polling station opened.
Both Shariff and Hughes were at the vote Saturday, staying a required distance away, greeting voters on their way in.
They also heard some complaints from people coming out as many potential voters were turned away for not meeting the new ID requirements.
That was the case for the riding's current MLA, Ron Liepert.
Liepert had his passport and license, but was asked to have one more piece of ID to prove he is a resident of the riding.
Some voters who were turned away said they don't have time to come back, so they wouldn't be casting a vote.
Many said they weren't aware of the requirements, or said they should have been made aware of the rules when they bought their PC memberships.
Saturday's vote was held at Webber Academy on 93rd Street S.W.
Redo looks bad, analyst says
Lori Williams, a political studies professor at Mount Royal University, says that although the redo of the nomination in Calgary West isn’t an anomaly in Alberta politics, it isn’t ideal.
"Because it does look bad, it does look undemocratic," Williams said. "It looks like someone simply using the rules in an unethical, or certainly questionable, way just to try to win the race."
Williams says electoral officials have to be diligent in checking identification, and make sure a voter is living in the riding they are voting in.
"[The conservatives are] saying, and rightly, in all but one of the races in Alberta they’ve had nomination races that didn’t cause these kinds of problems. So, it’s one out of 85," she added. "That’s not a huge problem."
Still Williams had some advice for the party.
"It maybe points to the fact that they need to be a little more deliberate about putting policies in place to ensure this sort of problem doesn’t occur again."