PC leadership vote to be held online

For the first time, Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party will be choosing their next leader through an online vote.
The three PC leadership candidates, Jim Prentice (left), Thomas Lukaszuk (centre) and Ric McIver, will face off in an online vote. (CBC)

For the first time, Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party will be choosing their next leader through an online vote.

The online voting opens at 6 a.m. on Friday and the winner will be announced Saturday night.

Kelley Charlebois, the party's executive director, says they have been testing the system to work out problems and to make sure it's ready for this weekend's first ballot.

He says voting online will work better for party members.  

"You have the flexibility to fit it into the time that works for you and not go to that central location, and then the tabulation of the results — because it's all done through the computer system — the tabulation will be quite quick at the end of the process."

Political scientist Duane Bratt says it's critical the Tories get this new system works.

"Do the candidates that lose, do they acknowledge the result or do they issue a complaint?" he said.

There have also been some concerns about how the online vote will play with older party members not familiar with computers.

The three candidates — Thomas Lukaszuk, Ric McIver and Jim Prentice — all say they're optimistic the problems with the new system will be sorted out in time for this weekend's vote. 

If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the vote, another ballot with just two candidates will be held later in September.

With files from CBC's Scott Dippel

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