Alberta Liberals satisfied with new voting rules

The Alberta Liberals are calling a recent voting experiment a huge success.

CALGARY — The Alberta Liberals are calling a recent voting experiment a huge success.

The party opened up voting for its leader to all Liberal supporters, not only party members.

The Liberals say that means tens of thousands more votes than in the last leadership race.

By the time registration was capped last week, the party had signed up more than 24,500 supporters.

Party spokesman Josipa Petrunic says this could be the game-changer that puts the party back on the map.

The voting method is used in some American primaries, but it’s never been done in Canada..

“What we’ve done is blow the doors open,” says the Liberal party’s Corey Hogan.

“We’ve said come on in, stay as long as you want and get involved in the process.”

The party will also accept walk-ins for the next few weeks and has nearly 4,000 paying members set to cast a ballot as well.

Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, says this vote could set a precedent for other parties to follow, or it could backfire.

“I think there is a lot of people watching this,” says Bratt, “Where it could be detrimental is if you have 28,000 people registered and only 5,000 vote.

“If that happens, people may say well this isn’t really what it was designed to do.”

The Liberal leadership vote is Sept. 10, one week before the Conservatives vote for a new leader.