Lineups already forming for advance polls
Foothills: Voters eager to cast their ballot in hotly contested race
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Saturday, Apr 21, 2012 11:13 am
Foothills advance polling stations were busy Thursday and Friday in anticipation of huge voter turnout on Monday.
Wait times at the Centennial Centre were as long as an hour on Thursday said one man.
Cheyenne Layton said his father spent an hour waiting in line to vote on Thursday and his wife waited 45 minutes on Friday morning. By the supper hour on Friday the wait times had dwindled to between five and fifteen minutes.
In the Livingstone Macleod constituency turnout at their six advanced polling station, including one in Turner Valley and another in Priddis, had doubled over results at the 2008 advanced polls said returning officer Carol Brown.
“I’m really pleased,” Brown said. “I try to get as many people as possible to come out and vote.”
Requests for special ballots have also doubled over the 2008 election, she added.
Those who did come out to vote prior to Monday said they were trying to avoid lines on Monday or were going to be out of town or working long hours that day and wanted to make sure they were able to weigh in on one of the most hotly contested elections in their constituency in decades.
The fate of Wildrose leader Danielle Smith is in local voters hands and her parties challenge of the PCs 41-year reign in the Highwood has already got people thinking about casting their votes.
“I heard that there is going to be 80 per cent turnout,” said Layton. “I didn’t want to stand in line.”
The Western Wheel talked to 10 people as they left advanced polling station at the Okotoks Centennial Centre Friday. Seven indicated they had voted for Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, while three said they voted for PC party candidate John Barlow.
Most Wildrose supporters either expressed dissatisfaction with the Conservative party, or said they would like to see more competition in Alberta’s legislature.
Okotoks resident Jason Otten said he voted Wildrose because Albertans need politicians with new perspectives on the issues.
“Its not good to have one mind set in one direction,” he said.
Its time for the Conservatives to have some competition, he added.
“You gotta have some challenge on the playing field when you have been winning all the games,” he said.
First time voters Darren and Lisa Wright came to Canada from England and recently got their citizenship. They say its time for a shake-up in Alberta’s political scene.
“Its time to wake the PCs up to what Albertans need and want in education and health care,” Darren Wright said.
PC supporters said they wanted an MLA who had lived in the constituency longer like Barlow.
Okotoks resident Angela Hassett said she voted PC because she knows John Barlow and believes he will focus on Highwood.
“He’s put so much time effort in this community,” Hassett said. “He deserves a chance to represent us.”
Tamra Axley said she voted PC, but hopes to see a minority government.
“There’s more accountability because everyone has to get along,” she said.
Advance polls will continue from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Okotoks Centennial Centre, High River town hall, the Flare ‘n’ Derrick in Turner Valley and at the Priddis plaza.
Polling stations will open Monday morning at the Millarville community school, Priddis community hall, the Flare ‘n’ Derrick, C. Ian McLaren School in Black Diamond and the Longview community hall in the Livingstone Macleod riding and at other polling stations to the south.
In the Highwood votes can be cast on Monday at the Okotoks Curling Club, Okotks Centennial Centre and the Highwood Memorial Centre and Highwood High School, Heritage Pointe golf club and Heritage Heights High School.
Polls close at 8 p.m.