Calgary polling stations report steady turnout so far

Polling stations in Calgary are reporting a steady turnout so far but new identification rules meant at least one voter could not cast a ballot.

New ID rule meant at least 1 voter could not cast ballot

City officials say voter turnout has been steady at polls across Calgary. (Alana Baker/CBC)

Polling stations in Calgary are reporting a steady turnout so far but new identification rules meant at least one voter could not cast a ballot.

As of 6 p.m. MT, 151 voting stations have reported a preliminary combined voter turnout of 148,143, or more than 22 per cent of Calgary's eligible population.

For the first time, voters need to present identification to be allowed to vote — and that's presenting a problem for some.

Editha Bell doesn't have any identification that has the Calgary address she has lived at for a year. Her husband Michael says all the bills are in his name and they have not updated their driver's licences.

"I feel embarrassed in a sense because here we are," said Editha Bell, who was unable to cast her ballot Monday. "We criticize other countries like the Philippines or Ukraine or Russia where people can't exercise their vote."

There are 19 different types of identification voters can present at their polling station.

Those include utility bills, bank statements or a driver's licence.

City officials say they tried to prevent situations like Bell's by getting word out early about the changes to voter identification requirements. 

But for those without any identification proving that they are Calgary residents, there is no recourse.

Polls are open until 8 p.m. and Calgary's returning officer, Barbara Clifford, says people waiting in lineups shouldn't worry about being turned away once polls close.

"Anybody who is at a voting station by eight o'clock, they will get to vote even if there's a lineup," said Clifford.

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