Final cost of 2015 Alberta election almost $19M

The Alberta Legislature on Feb. 26, 2016. Wes Rosa, Global News

EDMONTON – Alberta’s chief electoral officer says the final cost of the 2015 provincial election was almost $19 million.

Glen Resler, in a report tabled Monday, said that’s a 28 per cent increase from the 2012 campaign.

He said costs went up due in part to Alberta’s 10 per cent population increase and because then-premier Jim Prentice decided to drop the writ a year early.

“We had the challenge of recruiting, hiring, and training returning officers and election clerks on short notice as a result of the snap election call,” wrote Resler.

“Several staff were brought in from outside (the boundaries of some constituencies) in order to deliver the election.”

READ MORE: NDP stomps out 44-year PC dynasty, Jim Prentice resigns

Resler said they also had to pay premium prices to rent spaces and lock down voting locations because schools and community halls were already booked.

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Alberta has legislation mandating elections in the spring every four years, but Prentice bypassed the law in 2015, saying his new economic plan demanded a mandate.

Resler urged Premier Rachel Notley’s government to update the election laws to allow the electoral office to adapt better to the information age.

He said the wording of the law as it stands “restricts the introduction of technology and product innovation.”

He said one of two biggest complaints to his office from voters concerned unwanted calls from political parties.

The second biggest complaint, he said, came from rural residents who were unable to call up voting location information online.

Last May 5, voters overwhelmingly rejected Prentice and his Progressive Conservatives, voting in Notley and the NDP to end a PC dynasty that lasted almost 44 years.

Notley has said she will honour the election law, which means the next vote will be held sometime in the spring of 2019.

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