New voting format to delay official results in Alberta provincial election
Recent influx of voter registrations has caused Elections Alberta website errors
Alberta's provincial election is set to take place April 16 and new advance polling measures mean the early results may not be accurate.
Unofficial results are normally released on election night, but the final call on who will govern the province won't come until April 26, a spokesperson from Elections Alberta said.
The delay comes with 'vote anywhere' ballots, which allows Albertans to cast their ballots in advance at any polling station in the province in the upcoming provincial election.
"We are not starting this count until 1 p.m. the following day. You are guaranteed not to have results from any 'vote anywhere' ballots on election night. It will come days later," said Pamela Renwick, director of operations and communication at Elections Alberta.
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Those votes have to be brought back to Elections Alberta's Edmonton warehouse to be counted.
If there's a tight race, those uncounted ballots could skew unofficial results by a large margin.
"If you have won the race by one hundred ballots, but we have a thousand ballots here to count for that electoral division, there would be no way to know on election night who won that race," Renwick said.
'Busiest day ever'
The Elections Alberta website is being overwhelmed by the high number of people trying to register to vote — with some people receiving error messages and left unable to register Tuesday.
"We're doing our best to increase the servers to be able to handle the volume. Yesterday was the busiest day we have had ever," Renwick said.
On Monday there were 9,000 new registrations, she said.
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Renwick said people who are having difficulties registering should try again, or contact the Elections Alberta call centre.
She added that people can also register at the polls if they are not on the list.
Some who registered to vote online have been told they're facing a hefty commute to get to their polling station.
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Christa Bernier, who lives in Bonnyville, northeast of Edmonton, said when she tried to register to vote on the website, she was told her electoral district is in Brooks-Medicine Hat, around a five-hour drive from her home.
She said her husband and others in Bonnyville got the same message.
Renwick said it might be due to new electoral boundaries.
"They will absolutely be registered to vote in the correct electoral division. We can look into that to make sure that's not popping up on the website," Renwick said.
She said there are currently 2.7 million people in Alberta currently on the list of electors.