Alberta goes orange with NDP majority and an Edmonton sweep

Tonight with more than 1.4 million votes cast, Alberta elected an NDP government making Rachel Notley our 17th premier. And to the surprise of many, the polls turned out to be pretty accurate this time. After 44 years in power, the longest unbroken run in government at the provincial or federal level in Canadian history, the PC’s reign has come to an end. They won’t even be the official opposition – although they earned more votes than the Wildrose, they won 11 fewer seats.

Photo by Don Voaklander

The data in this post comes from my results dashboard. All results are unofficial until May 15 when Elections Alberta is expected to announce the final results. And it could very well change, as we have a tie currently in Calgary-Glenmore between the NDP’s Anam Kazim and the PC’s Linda Johnson.

Here’s what the seat breakdown looks like:

abvote2015 seats

The NDP won with 54, Wildrose came second with 21, and the PCs finished third with 10. And here’s what the popular vote looked like:

abvote2015 votes

We’ll have to wait to see what the final numbers are like, but voter turnout is not going to be much different than it was in 2012 at 54%. My guess is it will in the range of 53-57% when the final results are published.

The NDP won support from across the province, picking up 14 seats in Calgary, 19 in Edmonton, and 20 from other parts of Alberta. Here in Edmonton, they won every seat by no fewer than 4400 votes:

edmonton orange

That means some high profile PC members are out, including former mayor Stephen Mandel, current Minister of Human Services Heather Klimchuk, current Speaker Gene Zwozdesky, former deputy preimier Thomas Lukaszuk. Other promising individuals like businessman Chris LaBossiere never made it in. It also means that Liberal Laurie Blakeman is out, our province’s longest serving opposition MLA.

Also interesting is that the number of female MLAs has gone from less than 20 to 27. A step in the right direction.

It’s no surprise that Jim Prentice announced he would step down as leader of the PC party, but it was a shock to hear that he would resign the seat he won in Calgary-Foothills and would leave public life altogether. I can appreciate that being the public eye takes a toll, but his announcement felt incredibly selfish after all his talk of joining politics again because Alberta needed him.

This was a positive election for the Alberta Party. Not only did they roughly double their vote count from 2012, they elected their first MLA in leader Greg Clark who won in Calgary-Elbow.

Albertans have spoken and the winds of change have swept through the province. Rachel Notley and the NDP ran a solid campaign and they now have a clear mandate to govern. Congratulations to all and much respect for everyone who put their name forward as a candidate in this election.

Election Day: Where to Vote and Watch Results

Today is Election Day here in Alberta! It doesn’t take long to vote, so make sure you head down to your polling station today if you haven’t already voted in one of the advance polls. Here’s an overview of how to vote.

Where to Vote

If you need to know where to vote, you can use the tool I built here. It lets you search by address or if you’re on a mobile device in particular, just click “Locate Me” and it’ll figure out where you are. For the most accurate results, simply enter your postal code. Here’s what you’ll see:

where to vote

Once the search completes, it’ll show you the district you’re in, the candidates you can vote for, and your specific polling station (with pins for your location and for the polling station).

I had built this a week or two ago, but yesterday realized that Elections Alberta has improved their own search tool. Nice to see them making some enhancements. The main difference is that my tool has more information about candidates (such as social media links) and also has integrated results information.

Election Results Dashboard

The polls are open today from 9am until 8pm, after which we’ll see results trickle in from around the province. You can watch the results using the dashboard here. It should work well on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone!

where to vote

The dashboard shows some overview information, including the number of polls reporting and the estimated voter turnout, and a chart of votes by party. It has six other key features:

  • Party Overview – districts leading/won, total votes, vote % by party
  • Leader Races – votes for each party leader and whether or not they’re winning
  • Closest Races – districts that have the fewest number of votes separating first and second
  • Regional Races – districts leading/won by party by region
  • Most Supported – candidates who have received the most votes
  • Districts – leader, margin, polls, votes, and turnout by district

Most importantly, it’ll update automatically as soon as results come in from Elections Alberta. You don’t need to refresh the page or do anything else – just leave it open and watch the data appear!

I hope you find it useful. I’ve done quite a bit of testing with it, but do let me know if you run into any issues.

Happy Election Day!

Edmonton City Council could have its first by-elections in 20 years

With the potential loss of two Councillors this year, Edmonton could have it’s first by-elections for City Council in more than two decades.

Councillor Amarjeet Sohi, who represents Ward 12, announced in January that he would seek the federal Liberal nomination in Edmonton-Mill Woods. He was acclaimed on February 12. You can see his campaign page here. Sohi has said he would take leave from Council during the election.

Amarjeet Sohi - Ward 12
Amarjeet Sohi, photo by Dave Cournoyer

Councillor Tony Caterina, who represents Ward 7, was named the Progressive Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview on March 28. He was first elected to City Council in 2007. Curiously, Caterina has said he will remain active on Council during the election, but will not draw a pay cheque.

Tony Caterina - Ward 7
Tony Caterina, photo by Dave Cournoyer

On the school board side, Sarah Hoffman is running as the Alberta NDP candidate in Edmonton-Glenora. She was elected to her second term on the Edmonton Public School Board in 2013 and stepped down as chair in January. She still holds her seat on the school board.

Sarah Hoffman - Ward G
Sarah Hoffman, photo by Dave Cournoyer

Now that we know the provincial election is taking place on May 5, a by-election for Tony Caterina and Sarah Hoffman’s seats would take place sometime before August 4 (assuming they win office). The federal election is slated to take place on October 19, so if Amarjeet Sohi were to win, a by-election for his Council seat would need to take place by January 16, 2016.

By-Election Rules

Sections 160-168 of the Municipal Government Act deal with vacancies and by-elections for councils. Here are the key points:

  • Resignations must be made in writing and given to the Chief Administrative Officer (in our case, City Manager Simon Farbrother). The resignations take effect on the date they are received.
  • The Chief Administrative Officer must report the resignation to council at the first meeting after receiving the resignation.
  • A by-election must be held to fill the vacancy unless:
    • It occurs in the 6 months before a general election, or
    • The council consists of 6 or more councillors and the vacancy occurs in the 18 months before a general election (and there’s only one) or in the 12 months before a general election and there’s enough remaining councillors to count one more than the majority
  • A by-election must take place within 90 days of a vacancy, otherwise the Minister of Municipal Affairs may order a date for one or take any other action he or she considers necessary.

The next general municipal election will take place on October 16, 2017, which is still about 30 months away, so none of the “unless” clauses apply. If any of the three mentioned above resign, a by-election would need to be held within 90 days. And since it is very unlikely that Councillor Sohi would resign before winning a seat in October, we’ll almost certainly be looking at two by-elections – one for Caterina and/or Hoffman’s seats, and another for Sohi’s seat.

The nomination and campaign periods would be set by Council following the vacancy becoming official. In practice, the City Manager would bring a report to Council to inform them of the vacancies and would make a recommendation on the nomination and election dates. The same would apply to the Public School Board, except it would be the Chief Returning Officer (Alayne Sinclair) that would bring the report.

By-Election History

Edmonton has had six by-elections in the past, the two most recent of which were for councillors making the jump to either provincial or federal politics:

  • 1907 – Morton MacAuley resigned eight months into his term and left politics.
  • 1911 – James McKinley resigned to protest the firing of two city commissioners.
  • 1912 – Herman McInnes and Charles Gowan both resigned.

julia kiniski
Julia Kiniski at a campaign meeting in 1949, courtesy of the Edmonton Archives

  • 1970 – Julia Kiniski died on October 11, 1969. She had held office since 1963, when she finally won after about a dozen previous attempts. Her son Julian won the by-election, and was the last person to be elected at-large in Edmonton as the ward system took effect in 1971.
  • 1984 – Bettie Hewes resigned after being elected as MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar.
  • 1994 – Judy Bethel resigned after being elected as Liberal MP for Edmonton-East.

What to expect

Although Council has requested that the Minister of Municipal Affairs amend the Local Election Authorities Act to permit alternate forms of voting (which would make online voting possible) that has not yet happened and so online voting would not be an option for these by-elections.

City Clerk and Returning Officer Alayne Sinclair tells me that turnout is often even worse for by-elections than it is for general elections, so the City would try to pick a date that would maximize turnout. There would also be ample opportunity for advance voting.

With provincial and federal elections, and possibly municipal by-elections, all taking place this year, Edmontonians will be busy at the polls.

Edmonton Election 2013: Candidates capture the moment on Twitter

Just as I did in 2010, I wanted to capture on one page the tweets that candidates sent out upon hearing the election results. Not everyone tweeted Monday night – some didn’t post anything until the following day. In some cases, candidates sent out a couple tweets – one to congratulate the winner and another to thank their volunteers – so I have included both where appropriate.

With so many candidates on Twitter, it’ll be really interesting to see how they document their four-year term. Enjoy!

Edmonton Election 2013: The Morning After

What a night! After a landslide victory, Edmonton’s mayor-elect is Don Iveson. He defeated Karen Leibovici by more than 90,000 votes, earning 62% of the vote. Kerry Diotte came third just over 8000 votes behind Karen.

Don received more than 132,000 votes, which is more than any mayor has ever received in Edmonton’s history. Former mayor Jan Reimer held the previous record at just over 113,000 votes in the 1992 election. That year, turnout was 51.7% and more than 215,000 votes were cast. Turnout this year was quite a bit lower at 34.5%, but with a larger population, just 2000 fewer votes were cast than that ’92 election.

mayoral results

I certainly didn’t expect the margin to be that wide, and I don’t think many others did either. It’s a clear mandate for the vision that Don has articulated and the positive, collaborative tone he has espoused from the outset. It’s a huge vote of confidence in a mayor that to many seemed unlikely six months ago. This was not a social media win – you don’t earn the largest number of votes in Edmonton election history without gaining the support of a diverse array of Edmontonians.

Now the work really begins. Don’s campaign team reached out to all the successful candidates last night, and I know Don spoke with many of them personally too. The next week will be a whirlwind of transition meetings, getting new Councillors up-to-speed, and preparing for the first Council meeting which will take place on Tuesday, October 29. It’s an exciting time, and I’m thrilled that Don is the man who will lead it.

I have new appreciation for how much work goes into an election campaign, so I want to say congratulations to all of the candidates and their teams who put the time and energy into running. Only a small number get elected, but the questions, discussions, and ideas that are surfaced during a campaign are incredibly important and contribute significantly to the civic discourse.

I thought Don said all the right things to his opponents last night in his victory speech. Both Karen and Kerry ran strong campaigns and should be commended for their effort and what they brought to the table during this election. I also want to thank them for their service on City Council, and I wish them all the best.

Here are the successful candidates (unofficial until finalized by Edmonton Elections):

successful candidates

Congratulations to all!

I’ll have much more on the election over the next couple weeks. Also, join us on Thursday at 8pm for another #yegvote Hangout at! We’ll be analyzing what the results mean for Edmonton and will answer your questions.

You can see all the results of last night’s election here.

Election Day 2013

After months of campaigning, it all comes down to today. Candidates will continue to push get-out-the-vote efforts throughout the day, but the race is largely over. They’ve done all they can. The rest is up to us. Who will win the battle for City Hall?

Pecha Kucha Night 17

Have you voted yet? Figure out where to vote and who you’re voting for, and get it done. This is your opportunity to help define our municipal leadership for the next four years. Don’t waste it! Be sure to check out the City’s website for information on valid identification and more.

Tonight, I invite you to watch the results come in with the ShareEdmonton Election Results Dashboard. The polls close at 8pm, and the dashboard will automatically update whenever new results are posted. You’ll see race-by-race charts and results, plus overall statistics for voter turnout and percentage of voting stations reporting data. There’s also a leaderboard to quickly see who’s leading in each race, and some historical voter turnout numbers too.

Thanks for following along with my election coverage thus far. I’ll have further updates this week after the results are in.

Please vote, and check out the results dashboard tonight!

Why I am supporting Don Iveson for Mayor

Don Iveson is the person I want to lead Edmonton forward over at least the next four years. He’s thoughtful, intelligent, hard-working, and he truly cares about building Edmonton’s future. Don can imagine the great city we are working to build here in Edmonton. But he’s also practical, well-prepared and able to address the many complex challenges our growing city faces. I have no doubt that if Don is elected mayor on Monday night, Edmonton will be in good hands.

Don Iveson Rally

It should be no surprise that I’m supporting Don – I have been a member of his campaign team since early this summer. Many of the things I felt and thought I understood about Don then have only been reinforced through his actions and statements on the campaign trail. I consider myself fortunate to be part of the amazing team of people that have come together because they too like what they see in Don.

I have, of course, been a fairly consistent supporter of Mayor Stephen Mandel. While I haven’t always agreed with him, I do think that Edmonton has thrived under his leadership. I’m sad to see him go, but excited about the potential for someone to build atop the strong foundation he has laid. Edmonton has real confidence now that was sorely lacking before. Mayor Mandel was the leader we needed to find our path, and Don is the best candidate to lead us down it and beyond.

In my opinion, one of the biggest changes at the City over the last few years has been the professionalization of planning. It’s a much more strategic organization thanks in large part to Mayor Mandel’s efforts. We don’t need a new set of plans right now – indeed the lack of any major issues during this election is proof that most Edmontonians are happy with the course we’re on. What we need is someone who can ensure we actually implement those plans, while keeping an eye out for possibilities we haven’t yet recognized. Don has demonstrated repeatedly that he thoroughly understands the issues and can chart a course from here to there. His policy on renewing our roads and pipes is a good example of this.

One of the most important tasks facing any new mayor is to get Council working well together as a team. Councillors need to feel engaged, and the mayor must always remember that he or she is only one vote. At the same time, the mayor plays a unique role in building consensus. There will always be those who disagree, but unless the will of Council is generally aligned it’s difficult to make progress. The bar for accomplishing this task well was set pretty high by Mayor Mandel, but I think Don is more than capable of building an effective team.

If you ever watch or listen to Council meetings as I do, you’ll know that Don has a deep understanding of how the City works. He has been active in the Council chamber, making nearly twice as many motions during his last term as Karen Leibovici, and nearly eight times as many as Kerry Diotte. More importantly, I think his record shows that Don was able to earn a wider range of support from his colleagues on Council. While both Don and Karen have a similar failure rate for motions of about 2% (Kerry’s is a shocking 67%), more than 27% of all Karen’s motions were seconded by Jane Batty. Mayor Mandel accounts for another 14.5%. No two Councillors combined account for more than 30% of Don’s seconders. Stats like this can be interpreted in multiple ways however, so what about the contents of the motions?

Don’s activity on Council has not been limited to a particular issue. He’s made motions related to: funding for the Southeast LRT expansion, supporting the Edmonton Public Library, progressing smart transit fares, the operations of 311, streetlight rehabilitation, funding for arterial road renewal, reallocating funds for snow removal, the regulation of taxi and limousine services in the Capital Region, the downtown CRL, funding for Startup Edmonton, streamlining the rules for food trucks, and much more.

Don is not perfect; no candidate is. But Don’s age, perceived lack of experience, and apparent left-leaning slant are not his weaknesses. Age is just a number and any lack of experience can be mitigated by doing your homework and seeking the counsel of others. And I find the policies he has put forth fairly centrist. If there’s any weakness to note, it would be that Don has a tendency to care too much about what other people think. Fortunately that’s a weakness that’s easy to overcome. Anyone sitting in the mayor’s chair will naturally grow a thicker skin over time, and I know that like all great leaders, Don will surround himself with amazing people that can help him stay focused and motivated.

There are many issues I care about, but let me highlight a few. I have long been disappointed with the state of public involvement in Edmonton. As a councillor, Don has proven that he too would like to see things improve. He’s been highly accessible, both through traditional means and using new approaches like social media, and has led initiatives such as NextGen’s Engagement Strategy. I have no doubt he’ll continue to push for improvements as mayor. Like many Edmontonians, I want to see our LRT network built. Don has committed to working toward a full build-out of the network by 2030. I joined the Poverty Elimination Committee this year because I believe it’s an important problem that needs a new approach, similar to the success of our 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. Don has committed to elevating the poverty elimination effort to a Mayor’s Task Force. On these and many other issues, Don best represents the beliefs I have and the outcomes I desire.

I predict that the Capital Region will be one of the most important files our new mayor and City Council will need to address. The time is right for change, and Don is well-positioned to lead us in that effort. He recognizes that Edmonton is not an island and that we need to cooperate with our neighbours to maximize the opportunities before us. Don has a proven track record of working successfully with the Capital Region, and I think he’s the right person to bring about further, positive change for the region.

I also like Don’s position on Calgary. He has committed to working with the mayor of Calgary on a number of issues, to ensure that large municipalities in Alberta get the special attention they require and deserve. Whether its building out the LRT network or changing the way we fund our city, Don understands the issues and recognizes that Edmonton and Calgary have a greater chance of getting support from the Province when we speak with a united voice than when we work alone.

Mayoral Forum #3

The challenges our city will face over the next four years and beyond will be more complicated than those we have faced in the past. As Edmonton grows and our positive momentum builds, we need a leader who can ensure we stay the course while also taking calculated risks when opportunities arise. We need a leader who understands the issues and who can provide thoughtful, creative solutions. We need a leader who is passionate about and devoted to building the Edmonton of the future. Don Iveson is that leader.

That’s why I voted for Don today, and that’s why I hope you’ll consider supporting him on Monday. For some other perspectives, check out Dave’s post and Randy’s list of 50 reasons to support Don.

Edmonton Election 2013: Update #10

We held another #yegvote Hangout last night at, with special guests Chris LaBossiere and Patricia Misutka. We had a great discussion about the mayoral race, touched on a few of the ward races, and gained some insight from their experience into what candidates can expect for the weeks ahead:

It’s hard to believe that we’re just days away from the election! As a result, this will be last update before we find out who the successful candidates are. Here’s my latest election news roundup:

Also, let me quickly plug the ShareEdmonton results page, which will be updating live on Monday night. You can see historical election results here.

You can follow Edmonton Election news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegvote and you can see my coverage here. Also be sure to check out the #yegvote flipboard for curated election-related stories on a daily basis.

What have I missed? Let me know!

Please get out and vote and encourage your friends and family to do so as well!

Disclosure: I’m actively volunteering for Don Iveson’s mayoral campaign.

Don Iveson rallies his supporters to get out the vote

Last night I joined a few hundred volunteers, donors, and others supporters of the Don Iveson for Mayor campaign at a rally at the Matrix Hotel. It was an opportunity for Don to address his base, to thank his many volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the campaign thus far, but most importantly to remind everyone that Election Day is all that matters. There are still four hard days of work left to go, and now is not the time to get complacent!

Don Iveson Rally

After a lighthearted and witty introduction from his wife Sarah, Don took the stage to give his remarks. He recalled the seed which started the campaign, many months ago. “If you give people something to vote for instead of against, that will build a better city.” He talked about the many exciting things happening in Edmonton, channeling Make Something Edmonton as he touched on projects, businesses, and festivals. “If we build it together, it endures,” he declared.

Don Iveson Rally

He expressed a passionate desire to see all of that positive momentum continue, and even accelerate. “This can be the moment where Edmonton turns,” he said. “We can show people they were wrong to underestimate Edmonton.”

Don Iveson Rally

Don was not light on praise for his volunteers. “You’re the best political team in Canada,” he said. “Your support is what keeps me and the campaign going strong.” His remarks received, unsurprisingly, raucous applause. An already strong group of volunteers grew as people signed up to help on their way out.

Don Iveson Rally

With the room buzzing, Don implored everyone to help get out the vote over the next few days. We’re into the home stretch, but that doesn’t mean that any campaign should take it easy. Positive polls or not, all that matters is getting people out to vote on election day. That was, appropriately, the message that Don left his supporters with. I have no doubt we’ll rise to the challenge.

Disclosure: I’m actively volunteering for Don Iveson’s mayoral campaign.

Edmonton Election 2013: Update #9

We’re through all of the official Edmonton Elections forums now, and archives of each have been posted online. The final mayoral forum took place on Thursday evening in front of a large crowd. It had some entertaining moments, but for the most part, none of the forums have captured the energy we saw in 2010.

Mayoral Forum #3

Here’s my latest election news roundup:

You can follow Edmonton Election news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegvote and you can see my coverage here. Also be sure to check out the #yegvote flipboard for curated election-related stories on a daily basis.

What have I missed? Let me know!

Disclosure: I’m actively volunteering for Don Iveson’s mayoral campaign.