Red Deer voters are among the Albertans taking advantage of the opportunity to mark their ballots early at advance polling stations.
This year is the first time voters can cast a ballot for a candidate running in their home riding at any advance polling station in the province.
On Tuesday, 140,000 people voted across the province, including 107,000 who voted in their electoral riding and 33,000 who voted outside their riding.
At advance polling stations for the 2015 provincial election, a total of 235,000 people voted over fours days. This week, election advance polls will be open for five days.
Jim Taylor, Red Deer-South returning officer, said at the riding’s returning office, 1,060 ballots were cast by Red Deer-South voters and 232 by voters from outside the riding on Tuesday.
“The first day is usually the busiest, but it’s been steady,” Taylor said Wednesday afternoon.
He said the new computerized system that scans voter information from the Where to Vote cards people received in the mail is working well.
“People really like the new system. It just makes the issuing of ballots that much faster.”
He said the ability to vote anywhere in the province is also much appreciated by people from other ridings.
Catharine and Raul Morales, who live in Red Deer-South, decided to vote in the Red Deer-North advance poll in Parkland Mall on Tuesday.
Catharine said she voted early because she has to attend an all-day course on election day. She also wanted to accompany Raul, who just became a Canadian citizen and was voting in his first provincial election.
“We also have other shopping to do here. It’s convenient,” Catharine said.
Raul said it felt pretty good to mark a ballot, and the advance poll makes voting convenient.
Emily Simon, also a Red Deer-South resident, said she picked the Parkland Mall polling station because she knew exactly where it was located.
“This is my first time voting. It’s easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought it would be a little confusing, but it wasn’t too bad,” Simon said.
Voters who want to vote prior to election day have four advance polling stations to choose from in Red Deer at the following locations:
- Red Deer-North—Parkland Mall, at 458-4747 67th St., from Wednesday 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 Boulevard, on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Red Deer-South—Returning Office, at F-3617 50th Ave., from Wednesday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On election day, people must vote at their assigned polling location.