The advance voting period for the 2021 Edmonton election ended at 7 p.m. Wednesday and about 10 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots ahead of election day Oct. 18.
Over the 10 days of advance polls, more than 63,500 people voted, Edmonton Elections said.
“This is a significant increase over 2017 numbers.
“To serve this volume of voters, election workers have been hard at work and very busy for the last 10 days.”
The last municipal election in 2017 saw a total of 26,198 citizens cast ballots over 10 days of advance voting.
That meant polling stations saw an average of between 2,000 and 3,000 voters each day.
Edmonton Elections said it gleaned some lessons from the early voting period:
COVID-19 protocols generally followed
Edmonton Elections officials said they were grateful to the “overwhelming majority of voters” complying with health measures to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
Proof of vaccination is not required to vote, but masks are mandatory inside each voting station.
Lineups longer than expected
According to Edmonton Elections, the longer lines are due, in part, to the number of ballots being offered in this election.
Citizens are voting for civic representatives (mayor and councillor), school board trustees, Senate and referendum choices, and each choice takes time.
Physical distancing requirements have also resulted in more lineups at voting stations.
“We urge everyone to be patient given the pressure election workers are under,” Edmonton Elections said.
“Please be assured that everyone who is in line at the time of a voting station closing on election night will be permitted to cast their vote.”
Voting process enhancements
A number of changes have been implemented, including:
- additional staff verification of ballots before they’re issued
- updates to Where to Vote Tool, which requires addresses to be fully cleared before another address can be inputted to minimize any unintended human error
- spot checks and on-site support provided to all voting locations by senior Edmonton Elections staff
- Daily check-ins with voting stations to answer questions and provide support
Requirements to vote
Where To Vote cards are not required to vote, however, original documentation that identifies the name and current residential address of the voter must be provided.
Election day is Monday, Oct. 18.
“We are ready for election day and will keep the enhanced ballot verification protocols in place, as well as additional staff to support the voting process, given the anticipated high voter turnout,” Edmonton Elections said.
“All 212 voting stations will have voting instructions available in 13 languages in addition to them also being online.
“Voters may also bring an interpreter, such as a friend or relative, to a voting station if they require assistance. Interpreters must fill out a form for each voter they assist.”
Election results will be available online after voting stations close at 8 p.m.
Candidates, media and members of the public will have access to this information simultaneously.
Official results will be available by noon on Oct. 22.
Results of the provincial Senate nominee election and referendum will be reported by the province.