Lacombe-Ponoka ranks third in voter turnout across province

Poll results for Alberta's 30th General Election are marked down by Lacombe-Ponoka UCP candidate Ron Orr's campaign staff and volunteers at the results party held at the Track on 2 on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.(Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

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There was no rampant voter apathy in Lacombe-Ponoka during the April 16 election as the riding ranked amongst the top three areas for voter turnout.

Of a possible 29,673 eligible voters, a total of 24,264 cast ballots in the riding for a total voter turnout of 81.8 per cent. The number improved upon the riding’s 59.3 per cent turnout in the 2015 provincial election.

Lacombe-Ponoka only trailed behind Airdrie-Cochrane with 83.1 per cent and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre with 82.9 per cent as having the highest voter turnouts in the province.

All three ridings eclipse the provincial unofficial voter turnout of 71.1 per cent, where 1, 880,508 of a possible 2,643,453 registered voters cast ballots. The number is the highest in at least the past 44 years, according to Elections Alberta records, but falls shy of the August 22, 1935 election where 81.8 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots. The lowest voter turnout provincially, however, was in 2008, where just 40.6 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls.

Among the lowest turnouts in the area were Calgary East with 43.14 per cent, Calgary Falconridge with 52.92 per cent, and Edmonton Highlands Norwood with 53.27 per cent.

A record number of Albertans also headed to the polls during the five-day advance voting period, with approximately 696,000 voters casting ballots in advance, including 1,002 in Lacombe-Ponoka.

Despite advance ballot results not being fully released until Friday, incumbent United Conservative Party MLA Ron Orr was declared re-elected on election night.

With all 83 polls reporting, he won with an unofficial tally of 17,274 votes (71.2 per cent). The NDP’s Doug Hart came in second with 3,637 (15 per cent), while the Alberta Party’s Myles Chykerda came in third, with 2,518 (10.4 per cent). Freedom Conservative Party’s Keith Parrill had 329 votes, while Alberta Independence Party’s Tessa Szwagierczak had 278. Shawn Tylke, with the Alberta Advantage Party, received 228 votes.