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