It’s been over a week since Albertans elected a new government for the province. Nothing has fallen apart, blown up, or stopped working, like many may have presumed, but like most Albertans, we are cautiously optimistic moving forward.
The main thing, other than the apparent willingness for change, that became evident is this particular provincial election had a substantially higher voter turnout rate, especially in the local constituency of Lacombe-Ponoka.
As previously reported, according to the unofficial results, the voter turnout in Lacombe-Ponoka was 67.6%, very close to 68%. An astounding 18,208 people of the eligible 26,926 voted.
This turnout was higher than previous elections and higher than the provincial average, which was 60%.
Even before the polls officially opened, Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler noted that turnout for advanced polls was up province-wide.
“In 2012 there were 2,265,169 electors on the voter’s list,” he said. “In 2015, there are 2,543,127 electors on the voter’s list. This represents a 12 per cent increase (277,958) in the number of registered voters in Alberta since 2012.”
In surrounding constituencies, strong turnouts were also noted.
In the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituency, one of the second highest provincial turnouts, next to Lacombe-Ponoka, was indicated with an astonishing 66%.
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills was not far behind with a 64% voter turnout.
Red Deer-South and Red Deer-North did not have as a high of turnouts with 54% and 52% respectively.
Drumheller-Stettler also had a high turnout with 64% as did Edmonton-Whitemud, where PC candidate Stephen Mandel and Calgary-Elbow, where Alberta Party leader Greg Clark clinched the only seat for his party.
In Danielle Smith’s old constituency, Highwood, the turnout was marked to be 61%.
In former premier Jim Prentice’s constituency, Calgary-Foothills, the voter turnout was a surprising 57%. This is high considering the voters in the area had just hit the polls last October for a byelection, and will be again shortly for another byelection.
Some, including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, are calling for Prentice to foot the bill for the upcoming byelection in Calgary-Foothills, which he caused directly by stepping down after he was re-elected last Tuesday.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates the byelection will cost approximately $250,000.
Either Prentice pays out of his own pocket or the unnecessary costs are burdened on taxpayers.
This is, in a nutshell, the backside of democracy. Individuals can exercise their right to vote and respond in droves to have their say and they can be called to vote unnecessarily once again.
Either way, it’s only to hope the voter turnout in the Calgary-Foothills byelection is as high as it was here in Lacombe-Ponoka.