Voters who want to cast ballots prior to election day have four advance polling stations to choose from in Red Deer starting Tuesday — but those polling stations are not limited to just Red Deerians.
This year is the first time Albertans can vote at any advance polling station anywhere in the province.
“We’re expecting a high level of interest,” said Red Deer-South returning officer Jim Taylor.
Taylor said people should bring their Where To Vote cards that they received in the mail, especially when they are voting outside of their riding.
“It will definitely speed up the process if they bring that with them to the advanced poll. When they come into the advance poll, the codes on the cards can be scanned and all the information needed is available.”
However, on election day, people must vote at their assigned polling location.
“Vote anywhere does not apply on election day. We’re trying to not get people confused about that,” said Pamela Renwick, director of operations and communications with Elections Alberta.
She said recently, more people have chosen to vote at advance polls.
“In the last general election, we had just over 15 per cent who voted in advance. But with the last byelections, we were running closer to 28 per cent. That’s a trend we see across the country.”
It’s estimated about 30 per cent will visit advance polls this week, Renwick said.
Lori Curran, Green Party of Alberta candidate for Red Deer-South, said changes to advance voting procedures will probably make it more convenient for people to cast their ballots if they work out of town.
“A lot of times, half the people don’t even vote. The more we can get people to put their two cents in about stuff, the better,” Curran said.
Paul Hardy, Alberta Party candidate for Red Deer-North, agreed easier access is a good thing. But if people need more time to find out about candidates or parties, he encouraged them to vote closer to or on April 16.
“I think people realize it’s an important election,” Hardy said.
Renwick said ballots from people who vote outside their riding during advanced polls will be sent to Edmonton. Counting will start the day after the election, April 17, at 1 p.m., and depending on the volume, it could take a few days.
She said after the polls close on election day, the number of ballots sent to Edmonton will be reported, so predictions of winners can be made depending on the how close the race happens to be.
“I think there will still be some (winners declared) election night,” Renwick said.
Advanced polls in Red Deer will be held at the following locations:
- Red Deer-North — Parkland Mall, at 458-4747 67th St., from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Red Deer-North — Knox Presbyterian Church, at 4718 Ross St., from Wednesday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Red Deer-South — The Forum at Red Deer College, at 100 College Blvd., on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Red Deer-South — Returning Office, at F-3617 50th Ave., from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.