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Advance Vote Day 1: Alberta’s 2019 vote record smashed on first day of voting

Albertans overwhelmingly chose to take advantage of of advance voting in the 2023 Provincial General Election, smashing the day one results set in 2019 during the last general election.

As of 8:16 p.m. on May 23, 161,830 voters had cast their ballots across the province, representing a 16 per cent increase over 2019’s estimated 140,000 ballots cast.

In comparison, the day one advance votes from 2023 represented 23 per cent of all of the 700,476 advance votes cast in 2019.

Both the Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley and the UCP leader Danielle Smith advance voted in Calgary in May 23.

Speaking to the media after voting at the Calgary Central Library, Notley said that the increase in advance voting interest signalled excitement about the election.

“We’re hearing more people are excited about it, and we are working very hard to promote it as well,” she said.

“We have our most ambitious and creative and well-resourced advance voting push that we’ve ever had as a party, and we’re finding that our supporters are all over it.”

She said that while doing her morning run along the Bow River, she would have people call out to her saying they are voting for her.

“I would say get out to vote today and they’re like, ‘oh, you bet, that’s exactly what we’re doing.’ So yeah, there’s a lot of excitement.”

UCP leader Danielle Smith gets a thumbs up as her vote is counted by the tabulator after she advance voted at the Haysboro Community Association in Calgary on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Notley disputes the trend of young voters advance voting

Notley said that a number of young voters chose to join her at the poll to cast their votes as well.

“It’s so important that all Albertans exercise their right to vote over the course of the next seven days.”

“There’s a lot of myths out there that young voters are less likely to vote. I think it’s just a myth because young voters are so dedicated, so passionate, and they’ve been working so hard in this campaign. This is an important election for Alberta.”

Historically, according to data from Elections Alberta, 7.7 per cent of voters aged 18 through 24 cast their ballots through advance polls. That statistic rose to 15.8 per cent for voters aged 25 to 34, and again up to 18.1 per cent for those 35 through 44.

Voters aged 45 through 54 voted slightly less at advance polls than their younger cohort, at 17.8 per cent, rising to 20 per cent for voters aged 55+.

UCP leader Danielle Smith did not take media questions following her vote at the Haysboro Community Association.

Advance voting has become an increasingly popular option for voters in Alberta, with growing percentages of voters taking advantage—going from 1.92 per cent in 1972, to 4.52 per cent in 2021, to 36.74 per cent in 2019.