Alberta Votes

Alberta election: Advance polls see historic turnout

Albertans have made history this election by coming out in droves to vote in advance polls.

Extra day to vote part of the reason why numbers are up

Advance polls were open from April 29 to May 2, which was one day longer than in the 2012 provincial election. (CBC)

Albertans have made history this election by coming out in droves to vote in advance polls.

The polling stations open for four days last week between Wednesday and Saturday saw 235,410 people vote, a record according to Drew Westwater with Elections Alberta.

Advance Polls turnout

  • 2012: 179,820
  • 2008: 64,332
  • 2004: 44,807
  • 2001: 45,766
  • 1997: 34,284
  • 1993: 37,119

"That's a 31 per cent increase from the 2012 election," Westwater said.

"We've only had a 12 per cent increase in voters in Alberta since 2012 so proportionally a 31 per cent increase is quite substantial." 

There are 2,543,127 electors on the voter's list this year, which is 277,958 more — or 12 per cent — since the last provincial election.

The average number of voters each day in 2012 was 59,940, as compared to the average of 58,852 voters each day in 2015. But the numbers for advance polls were higher overall because voters were given an additional day to cast their ballot. 

"It's an extra day so you'd expect maybe an 18 to 20 per cent increase, but 31 is a bit larger than that," said Westwater, adding that high voter turnout during advance polls does not necessarily translate into higher voter turnout on election day. 

The biggest voter turnout was in the riding of Edmonton-Whitemud with 5,679 votes. Voters there went to the polls last October in a byelection that saw newly-appointed health minister and former mayor Stephen Mandel win his seat. 

Polls across Alberta are open tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. MT.

Overall voter turnout had been steadily declining in Alberta over the past two decades, from over 60 per cent in 1993 down to 40.6 per cent in 2008.

But turnout surged to 54.4 per cent in 2012, an election that — like this time around — had pollsters predicting a possible change in government

Here is a look at the results from Alberta's last four provincial elections.

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