Wildrose PIN problems hamper pivotal unity vote

The night before polls close, Alberta's Wildrose is racing to include members in an ongoing unity vote on whether to merge with the province's Progressive Conservative party

Members unable to participate in vote online or by phone without proper PIN, hours before polls close

Some long-time members of the Wildrose are urging others to reject unity with the PC party. The Wildrose needs 75 per cent approval to pass the agreement. (Terry Reith/CBC)

The night before the vote, Alberta's Wildrose Party is racing to include members in a decision on whether or not to merge with the province's Progressive Conservative party.

Members need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to vote online or by phone. But not all members received a PIN while others received multiple PINs ahead of the vote on Saturday.

Wildrose president Jeff Callaway said he has "no idea" how many people have been affected, but described the situation as hectic.

The party's PIN problems won't change the vote's outcome, he added.

"We're going to have a terrific turnout," he said. "This is far from the end, this is just another stage in our long-running political evolution."

Phone lines are open

Callaway pointed to a massive surge in registration since May, with the party's membership more than doubling from 19,000 to 43,000.

He attributed the increase to "the enthusiasm Albertans have to unite the conservative parties."

The sudden increase complicated the membership process, he added.

"Lots of people move and notifying a political party they happen to be a member of isn't priority number one on their list."

Members who don't have a PIN can call the party, though Callaway recommends sending an email instead.

More than 40 phone lines have been opened to cope with callers.

"The phones are pretty busy," Callaway said. "We're going to have people working those phones until very late into the evening."

At least 75 per cent of Wildrose members need to vote 'yes' for the party to move ahead with the proposed merger.