Chief Electoral Officer releases report on Innisfail-Sylvan Lake by-election

MLA Devin Dreeshen won the election with 81.7 per cent of the popular vote in July

The Chief Electoral Officer released his report from the 2018 Innisfail-Sylvan Lake by-election. File photo.

The Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on the by-election in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake has been released.

The by-election, held in July 2018, went in favour of Devin Dreeshen of the United Conservative Party as new MLA.

The report by Glen Resler, Chief Electoral Officer, also summarized the Fort McMurray-Conklin by-election.

On Feb. 2, 2018 Don MacIntyre resigned as a Member of the Legislative Assembly creating a vacancy in the electoral division of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

Carla Gabert was appointed as the returning officer for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake by-election by the Chief Electoral Officer on Feb. 8, 2018.

The Writ of Election, which was issued on June 14, 2018, indicated an election date of July 12, 2018.

Seven candidates registered for the by-election, but only five filed candidate nomination papers.

The five candidates residents in the riding had to choose from were: Nicole Mooney, NDP; Devin Dreeshen, UCP; Abigail Douglass, Alberta Party; Nick Jansen, Liberal Party; and David Inscho, Independent.

The Green Party and the Reform Party both registered with the Chief Electoral Officer, but did not nominate any candidates.

Advanced polls were held from July 3 to July 7 and were open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

There was three advance poll locations with a total of five polling stations.

Sixteen election officers were hired and trained for the advanced poll.

A total of 2,841 valid ballots were cast at advanced polls, representing 28.9 per cent of all valid ballots cast in the 2018 by-election.

Mobile polls, held on Election Day in treatment centres, supportive living facilities, emergency shelters and community support centres, had a total of 50 valid ballots cast.

A total of 47 valid Special Ballots were cast during the by-election.

The Special Ballot poll was held at the returning office in the electoral division throughout the election period to allow voting for electors who were not able to vote at advanced polls or on Election Day.

Election Day, July 12, 2018, saw 9,831 valid cast.

LEARN MORE: The polls are now open on Election Day

There was 16 polling locations for a total of 78 polling stations in the electoral division of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

All of which opened on time at 9 a.m.

On Election Day, 886 electors registered to be added to the List of Electors.

Based on the total number of names on the List of Electors after new additions were added 2,8 per cent of electors were not already registered.

On the other hand, 91 per cent of by-election voters were already registered at their current address.

In the report Resler states, “voter turnout is traditionally low in by-elections compared to provincial general election turnout, and this time was no exception.”

During the 2018 by-election 31,2 per cent of eligible electors cast a ballot.

On July 22, 2018, Glen Resler, Chief Electoral Officer, announced the official results of the by-election.

UCP candidate Devin Dreeshen received 81.7 per cent of the popular vote (8,029 of 9,831 valid votes).

Nicole Mooney, NDP, claimed 9.3 per cent of the votes; Alberta Party’s Abigail Douglass had 7.4 per cent, Liberal candidate Nick Jansen had 0.9 per cent and David Inscho, Independent, had 0.6 per cent.

READ MORE: Innisfail-Sylvan Lake elects its new MLA

A graph in the report shows in the past two elections, 2012 and 2015, the seat for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake electoral division was won by a candidate from the Wildrose Party with an average of 44.5 per cent of the popular vote.

Report statistics also show most votes are cast on Election Day through regular stations, although the per cent of ballots cast in the advance poll increased from 15. 4 per cent in the provincial election to 28.9 per cent in the 2018 by-election.

“We anticipate this growth in advance poll voting by electors to continue into the 2019 Provincial General Election when there will be an additional fifth day of advance voting provided,” said Resler in the report.

In the by-election 50.1 per cent of voters were female and 47 per cent were male.

The highest number of votes, 3,191, came from residents in the 65+ age group.

Total cost of the 2018 by-election in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake was $205,963.

All financial statements will be available to the public in the files maintained by the Elections Alberta Office and in summary form on the Elections Alberta website.

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