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‘Significant increase’ in advance voting for 2021 Edmonton election over 2017

Click to play video: 'Albertans set to vote on several referendum questions in 2021 municipal election' Albertans set to vote on several referendum questions in 2021 municipal election
Pamela Renwick with Elections Alberta explains some of the referendum votes that will be on the October 18th municipal election ballots, including senate choices and daylight saving time.

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.

“To serve this volume of voters, election workers have been hard at work and very busy for the last 10 days.”

Read more: Edmonton election 2021 sees spike in advance voting so far

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.

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Click to play video: 'Advance polls open Monday for Edmonton election' Advance polls open Monday for Edmonton election
Advance polls open Monday for Edmonton election – Oct 1, 2021

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.

Read more: Edmonton Election 2021: Casting votes for school board trustees

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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.

Read more: On the ballot: Equalization referendum largely misunderstood by Albertans

“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.”

Click to play video: 'What’s driving Edmonton voters to the polls?' What’s driving Edmonton voters to the polls?
What’s driving Edmonton voters to the polls?

Voting process enhancements

A number of changes have been implemented, including:

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  • 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

Read more: Problem at the polls: Edmonton voters given incorrect ballots for school board trustee

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

Election day is Monday, Oct. 18.

Read more: Edmonton election 2021: How to vote and what to expect on the ballot

“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.”

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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.

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The impact of Alberta’s Daylight Saving Time referendum question

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