As Alberta voters get closer to Tuesday’s provincial election, they may start asking about how, when and where they can vote.
There’s no shortage of information available, either online, directly from local returning officers, or in newspaper information advertisements.
The online information at Elections Alberta is extensive and can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about voting, from whether you are registered to vote to who the candidates are in your constituency, to where to vote and where the advance polls are located.
Those eligible to vote include anyone who is 18 years of age or older on voting day, a Canadian citizen, and has been ordinarily resident in Alberta for the six months immediately preceding voting day.
Today and Tuesday, before advance polls open on Wednesday, a special ballot is still available under certain circumstances for those who cannot get to the advance polls or to the polls on election day.
These would include such situations as a person being away from one’s electoral division, physically incapacitated, imprisoned or living in a remote area.
A special ballot can be requested either by going online to Elections Alberta at www.elections.ab.ca or contacting your local returning officer by phone, fax or in person at the returning office.
Red Deer South returning officer Jim Taylor said the number of special ballots that had been requested in the 2012 election for the constituency was about 125.
As of last Friday they had 92 requests in the Red Deer South constituency, so it was fairly close in line with the last election, he said.
Advance polls will be open for four days starting today, to Saturday inclusive. They are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
A list of polling stations for each constituency is to be published as well, showing voters were they can vote on election day.
“People should soon be receiving their Where To Vote cards,” said Taylor.
“I would really, really be pleased if you would advocate that people bring those to the poll with them because it will speed the process up quickly. It will really make a difference if they bring that with them to the poll,” said Taylor.
The cards have information on them that will make it very quick for the deputy returning officer and poll clerk to find their name on the voters list. Taylor said, adding that he encourages people to get out and vote.
The Where To Vote cards are going out to voters by mail, and will have individual voter names on them.
To find out if you are registered, go to the website www.elections.ab.ca. A secure part of the website lets you check to see if you are registered and where your polling station is.
You may also register in person at advance polls from Wednesday to Saturday or on polling day May 5. When registering in person, identification that proves your identity and address is needed.
On election day, the polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unofficial results will be posted online.
In Red Deer, you can reach Taylor at the returning office for the Red Deer South constituency at 101 4315 55th Ave. The phone is (403) 302-5791 or toll-free 1-844-419-2525.
The Red Deer North constituency returning officer is Brenda Williams, (403) 357-1136, toll-free 1-844-419-2524 and the office is located at Bay 3, 4664 Riverside Drive.
Other returning officers and office locations for Central Alberta are: (Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre) Loren Braat, 5-6 110 Main Ave. W, Sundre, (403) 636-2001 or toll-free 1-844-419-2526; (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills) Laura Ewert, 519 Main St., Three Hills, (403) 443-4191 or toll-free 1-844-419-2522; (Lacombe-Ponoka) Margaret Devries, 117 5001 52nd St., Lacombe, (403) 782-1301 or toll-free: 1-844-419-2515; (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake) Carla Gabert, Co-op Shopping Centre, Bay 8 4303 50th St., Innisfail, (403) 227-0121 or toll-free 1-844-419-2513; (Drumheller-Stettler) Janice Hoover, Hanna Learning Centre, B167 401 Centre St., Hanna, (403) 857-7501 or toll-free: 1-844-419-2455.
A list of all returning officers, the addresses of the returning offices and contact information is also on the Elections Alberta website.
For more information, voters can also contact the Elections Alberta call centre, toll-free, 1-877-422-8683. It is open Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 8: p.m. and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekend.