Edmonton election 2017: Advance voting numbers down

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The numbers indicate enthusiasm isn’t particularly high in the lead up to Edmonton’s municipal election.

During the first six days of advance voting, 8,495 votes were cast, including 1,254 on Thanksgiving Monday.

READ MORE: Candidates running for Edmonton mayor and council

During the last municipal election in 2013, 8,438 citizens cast a ballot over the first days of advance voting, but voting stations weren’t open on Thanksgiving.

“Edmonton Elections decided to try out holiday Monday voting this year as a new convenience for voters and the feedback has been positive,” elections director Iain MacLean said.

“The first day of advance vote was absolutely the highest turnout we had and then Thanksgiving Sunday was less so, I guess is a way of putting it.”

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As a comparison, Calgary saw more people cast their ballots on the first day of advance polls, with 9,670 taking advantage of the early voting opportunity. As of Sunday, 44,268 people had voted in advance polls in Calgary.

READ MORE: Advance voting draws big crowds in Calgary’s 2017 municipal election

As a new way to try to get out the vote, Calgary is using drive-thru voting for the first time in its advance polls.

READ MORE: Calgary to open drive-thru voting station for municipal election

MacLean said drive-thru voting is something Edmonton will consider for the next municipal election, in 2021.

“Every municipality is very unique and Calgary’s got a very interesting process with their drive-thru voting,” he said. “What we’re going to do after this election is look at all of our processes — from voting opportunities, to how we offer the vote to locations, to everything. And that is absolutely something we’re going to look at internationally, to see what other options people have for voting and what we can do to incorporate, but make them Edmonton-specific solutions.

“Anytime you have something unique… It’s something we’re going to look at.”

READ MORE: Edmonton candidates make final push with 1 week left in election campaign

Advance voting runs between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day until Friday, Oct. 13.

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“There are a number of voting opportunities still available, including four more days of advance voting. We encourage every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote,” MacLean said.

Edmontonians can use the Where to Vote online tool to find their voting station, hours of operation and candidate list.

Election day is Monday, Oct. 16 and polls are open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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