Decisions and indecision: Some voters overwhelmed by range of ballot box issues

·3 min read
This municipal election includes the usual ballots for mayor, city councillor and school board trustees but also includes a chance to pick Alberta Senate nominees and weigh in on two referendum questions.   (Travis McEwan/CBC - image credit)
This municipal election includes the usual ballots for mayor, city councillor and school board trustees but also includes a chance to pick Alberta Senate nominees and weigh in on two referendum questions. (Travis McEwan/CBC - image credit)

Some Edmonton voters felt unprepared for the hodgepodge of questions — ranging from who should represent them in the Senate's red chamber to how the clocks in Alberta should be set — that met them at the ballot box on Monday.

"I was definitely overwhelmed," said Sara Klapstein as she left a polling station at Father Michael Troy Catholic Junior High School in south Edmonton.

"Some of them sort of threw me. I wasn't prepared to vote on some of the questions and some of the options so I did what I could and left the others blank."

This municipal election includes the usual ballots for mayor, city councillor and school board trustees but also includes a chance to pick Alberta Senate nominees and weigh in on two referendum questions — one on equalization, the other on daylight saving time — put forward by the province

Klapstein said she would have liked to have seen the municipal vote focus solely on city council. She said the number of questions was overwhelming, even after doing her research.

"I think the ballots this year were pretty extensive, too excessive I would say," she said. "There were a lot of things on there I just didn't think we should be voting on. Daylight savings time, I feel like we could be voting on that at a different time. But it is what it is."

Klapstein plans to watch election results on Monday evening and is keenly interested in who will replace Don Iveson as mayor.

"I know it's a tight race and I know which way I want it to go."

Travis McEwan/CBC
Travis McEwan/CBC

Kenneth Muir said he did more research than usual for this election but still struggled to make an informed choice on all the questions.

"I did a fair bit of reading on the mayor and ward councillors but not as much on the trustees because I'm busy. Lack of time, I guess," he said.

"There are so many hours in the day and sometimes local elections don't rank as high as provincial and federal."

Muir said he made senate and school trustee choices without much knowledge about the candidates.

"Moreso with picking the senator and the school trustees because you have no clue who anybody is," he said. "To be honest, sometimes, you're just picking randomly."

Polling stations were generally calm as Monday's vote got underway but there were a few notable hiccups.

The opening of some polling stations was temporarily delayed due to a lack of supplies. Edmonton Elections apologized for the disruption and urged impacted voters to return to their polling stations.

Incorrect school trustee ballots were also issued at seven polling stations but the issues were "resolved quickly," Edmonton Elections said in a statement Monday.

Voter Violet Vowker said she did a lot of research before casting her ballot.

"There were so many topics and a lot of candidates, so I felt like I really had to do a lot of research, especially on the councillors and the mayor, of course."

Fred Vowker said he'd been busy working out-of-town and left the election research "up to my good wife."

"And I was happy with her selections," he added.

Travis McEwan/CBC
Travis McEwan/CBC

As of 12:50 p.m. today, more than 36,000 voters had cast their ballot.

Edmonton has seen record-high turnouts for early voting and are expected to have final tallies for the next slate of municipal representatives later this evening.

Polls at 212 voting stations across Edmonton will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

CBC Edmonton will bring you live municipal election results on CBC Radio One at 93.9 FM and CBC Listen. Join Mark Connolly, Nancy Carlson and Tahirih Foroozan for a special broadcast starting at 8 p.m.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting