Here’s everything you need to know to cast your ballot in Alberta’s provincial election on Tuesday, April 16.
Where do I vote?
“On election day you must go to the location assigned to your residential address, so you don’t get to choose anywhere,” said Drew Westwater, Alberta’s deputy chief electoral officer.
You can look up your polling station online at Elections Alberta.
Your polling station was also mailed to your address, if you registered to vote, on a personalized “where to vote” card.
Or, you can call 1-877-422-8683 to find out your location. That call centre will be open from 8:15 a.m. until 8 p.m. MT on voting day.
There are 1,371 voting locations across the province, and more than 18,000 Albertans will be working the polls on election day, Westwater said.
When are polls open?
Polls are open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.
Am I eligible to vote?
In Alberta, roughly 2.7 million people are registered to vote in the provincial election.
To be eligible to vote, you must be:
- A Canadian citizen.
- At least 18 years old.
- A resident of Alberta.
Do I have to be registered to vote?
Yes, you must be registered to vote. But if you’re not registered, you can register at the polls on voting day.
What do I need to bring to vote?
If you’re a registered voter and on the list of electors, you don’t need ID to vote — you simply need to provide your name and address. But you might want to bring your ID just in case, if, for whatever reason, you’re not on the list.
“We do not have automation at the polls on election day like we did at the advance polls, so we won’t be scanning anything. We’ll be looking you up in the poll book to find your name and address,” Westwater said.
“We have the honour system in Alberta; it works really well. We have scrutineers to view the process and challenge if they think someone’s voting illegally.”
If you’re not registered, that’s a different story. You’ll need to provide either one piece of government-issued ID with your photograph, name and address or two pieces of authorized ID, one with your name and one with your name and address, to register.
If you’ve moved since the last time you voted, you must vote in the polling subdivision where you live. You can either contact your local returning officer to get your address changed or complete a declaration at the poll.
A full list of acceptable ID and attestation forms are available on the Elections Alberta website.
Can I get time off work to vote?
Yes, if your shift would otherwise prevent you from voting.
The law guarantees all voters at least three consecutive hours during which they can go vote. If you work from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., you still have enough time to vote because polls close at 8 p.m., so your employer doesn’t need to let you leave work early.
But if you work from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., your boss will need to accommodate you so you have a three-hour window in which you can go and cast your ballot.
“We’re open for 11 hours on election day,” said Westwater. “If the employee does not have three consecutive hours either before their shift starts or after their shift ends on the day of an election, the employer’s obligated to give them time off on election day.”
What if I need special accommodation?
Unfortunately, the deadline has passed to request a mail-in ballot (if you did request one, make sure you send it back in time).
If you are impaired in some way and need assistance voting, or don’t speak English fluently, there are options available. There are details on Elections Alberta’s website, or you can call 1-877-422-8683 for more information.
Westwater said you can bring a friend to assist you at the poll if you need help voting or request assistance from an election official.
If you’re driven to a poll but you can’t get inside, an election official can bring the ballot box out to your vehicle so you can vote, he said.
Who are the candidates in my riding?
Elections Alberta’s website has a list of all registered candidates and their parties, sorted by electoral division.
A total of 492 candidates are nominated, with just the NDP, Alberta Party and UCP running a candidate in all 87 ridings. Fourteen parties have nominated candidates.
What if I don’t like any of the options?
If you don’t wish to vote for any of the candidates in your riding, but you still would like to vote and register your displeasure with the options, you can decline your ballot.
You simply return it to the deputy returning officer at your polling station and tell them you’ve chosen to decline your ballot. Your ballot will be counted as declined and you’ll still count toward the province’s overall voter turnout.
Where can I watch election night coverage?
You can tune in online starting at 7:30 p.m. MT on CBC News Network, on a Facebook livestream, and on our CBC Gem streaming service.
Or, listen to the radio special starting at 8 p.m. MT on CBC Radio One.
When will the election winner be called?
Results will start coming in as soon as polls close at 8 p.m., which is when poll workers will open up the ballot boxes and begin to count ballots by hand.
Unless the race is especially close, CBC’s decision desk anticipates it will call which party will form the next government on election night.
But final totals won’t be available for a few days. That’s because of the new “vote anywhere” legislation that allowed voters to cast ballots at an advance poll outside of their own riding.
Nearly 700,000 people voted in the advance polls — a historic turnout — and approximately 223,000 of those ballots were cast outside of electoral divisions. Sorting and counting those votes will start Wednesday, and is expected to end Saturday.