A steady flow of voters continued to head to Cochrane's advance polling station yesterday (Apr. 10) after a record 140,000 Albertans cast their ballots on the first day of voting.
Airdrie-Cochrane constituency returning officer Lorraine Romain says over 4,000 people have voted at the three advance polls in the riding and she expects it will breach the 5,000 mark by the end of today. That's a huge jump from the 2015 election when a total of 2,200 people voted in four days of advance polls
Lineups stretch the length of the hallway upstairs in the Grand Professional Building, 215 100 Grande Boulevard on opening day.
"There was an overwhelming number of voters," says Romain. "But they weren't growly or complaining; they were quite patient."
She believes the "Vote Anywhere" option for advance polls has had a positive impact. A number of people living outside of the constituency are casting their ballots at the Airdrie-Cochrane advance polling stations. In Cochrane, it's proven convenient for those in the newly created Banff-Kananaskis riding that borders to the west and south of Cochrane. In Airdrie, it's voters from the other Airdrie riding.
"So people coming home or going to work are stopping and voting at either place, whatever is the most convenient."
Besides the advance station in Cochrane, there's also one in Airdrie and Bearspaw she oversees. Those, too, have been busy.
"Yesterday was steady right up until we closed the doors. There was a lineup right up until we closed the doors last night at all three places. People are coming out."
The strong turnout brings a smile to Romain who is in her nineteenth year of helping people vote, not only in Alberta but B.C.and internationally.
"I'm pleased because of all the hard work we put into it. It's like throwing a party. If nobody shows it's quite disappointing but with all these people showing up it really raises your spirits. You're thinking all that effort is well worth because people are coming out and voting and they are making their voices heard."
Romain says there has been a cross-section of ages hitting the polls and they've been everyone from first-time voters to retirees. She says she has seen a growing number of younger people voting, a trend that began with the 2015 provincial and federal elections.
Come election day, there's a total of 91 polling stations across the riding, up from the last election.
About 300 people are hired and trained to operate the stations and Romain's office has been opened since Feb. 1 to prepare for when the rite was dropped. There's also been a lot of work behind the scenes in advance of the call, especially with the remapping of Alberta constituencies we have witnessed here first hand with the creation of the Airdrie-Cochrane and Banff-Kananaskis ridings.
All the advance polls remain open until this Saturday, Apr. 13 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Come election day, Apr. 16, electors must vote at their assigned polling station.
Those 18 and older who reside in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen can vote. If you are not already on the voters' list you can register at the polling station. You must bring acceptable identification. Details can be found at www.elections.ab.ca.