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Albertans vote in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection underway in northern Alberta'
Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection underway in northern Alberta
Constituents in northeastern Alberta are voting Tuesday in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection. Tom Vernon reports. – Mar 15, 2022

Constituents in northeastern Alberta are voting Tuesday in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection.

There are eight candidates running for the seat, which has been vacant since August when Laila Goodridge resigned to run for the federal Conservatives.

Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean is the United Conservative Party’s candidate. Jean ran in the 2017 UCP leadership campaign, but lost to Premier Jason Kenney.

Jean has been very vocal in calling for Kenney’s resignation. He believes now is the time to renew the UCP, and that includes new leadership.

The Alberta NDP candidate is teacher Ariana Mancini. She faced off against Jean in the Fort McMurray-Conklin riding in the 2015 provincial election. Jean, who was leader of the Wildrose at the time, won the seat.

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When speaking to Global News last month, Mancini said people she’s spoken to are tired of UCP politics. She said voters want solutions to issues like the rising cost of living and a shortage of health-care services.

Click to play video: 'Byelection race underway in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche'
Byelection race underway in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche

The Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta’s candidate is Paul Hinman, the party’s current leader.

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The Alberta Advantage Party’s candidate is Marilyn Burns.

The Alberta Party’s candidate is Michelle Landsiedel, a project lead with Suncor.

The Alberta Liberal Party’s candidate is Abdulhakim Hussein.

The Independence Party of Alberta’s candidate is Steven Mellott.

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Brian Deheer is also running as an independent.

While byelections typically have low voter turnout, political analysts have said this is a race to watch.

“In the Canadian political system it is so extraordinary for there to be a candidate who is overtly opposed to the leader of the party that they’re running on the banner of that in the election,” University of Calgary political scientist Lisa Young said of Jean in February.

Almost 2,000 voters cast their ballot in advance polls last week.

From March 8 to March 12, 1,966 votes were cast. That translates to 8.2 per cent of the eligible population, according to a news release from Elections Alberta on Monday.

That compares to 5,358 votes cast in the 2019 provincial election, or 20.9 per cent of the eligible population.

All polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Unofficial results will be available after the polls close and official results will be announced on March 25.

Global News will have a new story published soon after the unofficial results are announced.

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Electors have also had the chance to cast a ballot at the advance polls, which ran from Tuesday through Saturday last week.

There are 23,864 electors in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche riding. During the 2019 provincial election, voter turnout in the riding was 58.2 per cent, compared to the overall provincial voter turnout of 67.5 per cent.

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