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Who will be Alberta’s next premier? Voters head to the polls after divisive election campaign

Alberta Election 2019: Victory helps Kenney keep promise to young voter
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta premier-designate Jason Kenney related a story during his victory speech of meeting a young supporter three years ago and wanting to keep a promise to bring change to the province.

Albertans have spoken. Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party have won a majority government.

The polls opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday and closed at 8 p.m. A few polling stations across Alberta remained open past 8 p.m., though, because they opened late in the morning.

READ MORE: ARCHIVED: Watch the 2019 Alberta election live

The 2015 election saw Rachel Notley’s NDP deliver a surprise knockout blow to the 44-year run of the Progressive Conservatives.

This time around, the Progressive Conservatives were no more. The PCs merged with another right-leaning party, the Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives under former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney.

READ MORE: Live Alberta election results: Riding-by-riding vote map

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, her husband Lou Arab, daughter Sophie Arab and son Ethan Arab arrive to vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, her husband Lou Arab, daughter Sophie Arab and son Ethan Arab arrive to vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

Polls opened at 9 a.m. and Notley showed up to vote with her family in Edmonton. Both of her children were voting in their first provincial election.

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“Voted,” said Ethan Notley, 20, as his mom filled out her ballot. She then looked up as her 18-year-old daughter walked by to cast her vote.

“It’s her first time, too,” Rachel Notley told reporters, before walking over to put her vote in the ballot box. “Here we go. It’s going, it’s going, it’s gone.

“Can’t change my mind now,” she said with a laugh.

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Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and her son Ethan Arab vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and her son Ethan Arab vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley casts her vote in the provincial election in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

Notley reminded those gathered around her to vote before heading off to shoot a video for social media to remind others.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel also cast his vote at Centennial School in his riding of Edmonton-McClung.

Later Tuesday, Kenney was scheduled to make appearances in Red Deer and Calgary, however the event in Calgary was cancelled less than half an hour before it was set to begin.

The UCP leader already voted in the advance polls, as did Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan.

Global News’ comprehensive coverage started at 7 p.m. across all platforms: online, on TV and on the radio.

Global News/Ipsos polling released Monday suggested the majority of Alberta’s support remains with the UCP. Support for the NDP has continued to grow through the campaign, but not enough to bridge the now 10-point gap between the official opposition, according to the poll.

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READ MORE: NDP bridging the gap, but not enough, as Alberta election campaign draws to a close: Ipsos poll

Advance polls turnout

If the advance polls were any indication, it should be an interesting night as a record-number of advance ballots were cast over five days last week.

In total, about 696,000 advance votes were cast at 268 locations across Alberta — 223,000 of which were cast by electors outside of their electoral divisions.

Breaking that down by region, the most advance votes were cast in Calgary, at 98,054.

In the greater Edmonton region — which includes the city’s suburb communities such as Leduc, St. Albert, Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove — there were 69,814 advance votes.

In the rest of Alberta, 55,467 advance votes were cast.

Watch below: A large advance voter turnout could mean a long night Tuesday as the Alberta Election results are tabulated. Fletcher Kent reports from an Edmonton polling station.

Steady stream of voters at Edmonton polling station
Steady stream of voters at Edmonton polling station

Could Edmonton be shut out of government?

With polls suggesting the NDP could dominate in Edmonton but the UCP could win the election, there is a chance Alberta’s capital city could end up shut out of government.

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If that happens, it would not be the first time Edmonton or Calgary has not had any MLAs in the governing caucus.

In 1913, the Alberta Liberals formed the government without winning any seats in Calgary. Then in 1917, the Liberals formed the government without winning any seats in Edmonton.

In 1921, United Farmers formed the government without electing anyone in Calgary or Edmonton.

Then in 1926 and 1930, the United Farmers formed the government without winning any seats in Calgary.

Corus Alberta radio coverage

Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage of the Alberta election campaign

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— With files from Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press