Live: Alberta voters go to the polls after intense and nasty campaign



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Violet Ng, a 1-year-old, amuses her mother on her way to vote in the 2019 provincial elections at Capitol Hill Elementary School in northwest Calgary on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Jim Wells / Postmedia

Jim Wells / Postmedia

The polls closed at an election in Alberta that should make history in one form or another.

After four weeks of what has been an intense campaign – and sometimes quite unpleasant – today's voting results will determine whether Rachel Notley will be the first NDP prime minister in Alberta to win re-election or if the first political leader in Alberta will not succeed a renewed mandate on the first try.

The main dispute is between the incumbent NDP and Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party, an amalgam of ex-PCs and the center-right Wildrose Party, which holds the lead in virtually every research.

The central message of the UCP – that the ruling NDP mistreated the economy during a time of low oil prices and high unemployment – appears to be resonating with Albertans, said Faron Ellis, research chairman and political scientist at Lethbridge College.

"It goes back to the classic elections. When the economy is not good and people have economic concerns – jobs in particular … the economy outweighs everything, "Ellis said.

However, polls also indicate that Kenney is personally less popular than Notley, and the NDP campaign has sought to make Kenney's character a problem. Some of their candidates have given up or apologized for previous comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

There are 87 races in Alberta and 44 are needed to form a majority government. With the closing of the polls, supporters of the UCP are gathering at the Big Four Building at the Calgary Stampede Grounds, the venue for the night of the election. NDP headquarters for the night will be the Edmonton Convention Center.

Our team of journalists is reporting on the election throughout the province. Follow our coverage live here. The story continues below.

Alberta's small parties in the battle for survival

Also in the mix are the Alberta Party (led by former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel) and liberals (led by attorney David Khan) – each of whom elected a legislative candidate in 2015 – and a handful of marginal and independent parties . However, David Taras, a professor of communication studies at Mount Royal University, said that all smaller political parties face a major challenge tonight, and any victories they can win will be "personality seats."

Some rides may be too close to call tonight

Polls opened at 9 am and early indications suggested a healthy turnout, with nearly 700,000 people voting early in malls, airports, recreation centers, public buildings and even an Ikea store. That was way ahead of the 235,000 that emerged early in the 2015 election, which saw Notley's "Orange Crush" take a decisive hit in the 44-year Progressive Conservatives race.

Almost a third of these early votes were cast under a new "anywhere-voting" system that, for the first time, allowed people to vote at home at any polling station. These votes will not start counting until Wednesday, which means that some of them will be too close to call the night of the election.

The results of the election night will be delayed at Calgary-Acadia riding, where St. Stephen's College School opened late because it was under blockade, according to the Alberta elections. The searches will be open half an hour extra at that location.

UCP wins & # 39; Student Vote & # 39;

One result may already be reported, the simulated "Student Vote" election held in elementary and middle schools throughout the province. 165,000 cast votes this time and delivered the 49 UCP seats to 35 NDP and 3 of the Alberta Party. Liberals were excluded by children.

The Fox Lake election staff suddenly gave up; City of Calgary warns of unusual robbery call

So far, there have been few reports of abnormalities in the research. However, in an unusual situation, Elections Alberta chartered a plane and hauled workers to replace personnel who suddenly gave up on Tuesday, temporarily leaving a remote First Nation community in the north with no place to vote.

"They were trained and hired, and they had all the ballot boxes and everything. They, for their own reasons, decided to give up on us today and not show up in the poll, "said Drew Westwater, deputy district attorney, explaining the delay in opening a polling station in Fox Lake, Alta.

Fort Vermillion emergency replacement personnel arrived in the fly-in community, and polls opened during the day. The station will be open later to make up for lost time, Westwater said.

Fox Lake falls on Peace River riding, and is about 150 miles east of High Level.

The city of Calgary reported Tuesday that it received complaints from citizens who receive calls from a group called "Tell City Hall" and ask about their intentions to vote. A spokesman said the city of Calgary does not ask citizens about their election choices and has no affiliation with the group.

What you need to know to vote:

  • You must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years of age and normally live in Alberta
  • You must be a registered voter to vote. Do not panic if you are not – you can bring a photo ID issued by the government with your name and address, or two identification documents such as passport, birth certificate, hunting license, invoice or library card
  • The polls open at 9am and close at 8pm.
  • Unlike advanced polls, you should vote at your polling station on Election Day
  • Look for your polling station in the Alberta elections location on the Internetor call 1-877-422-8683
  • If you do not like the candidates, you can refuse your ID. Return your unmarked ballot to the election official. Declined ballots are included in voting statistics
  • Questions? You can call the Elections Alberta Election Information Center at 780-422-VOTE (8683) or toll-free at 1-877-422-8683 outside of Edmonton.

Related

– With files from Canadian Press

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