Keyano professor expects significant spike in local voter turnout
A historic election for both the residents of Wood Buffalo, and the entire province of Alberta will come to a conclusion tonight.
Today's vote marks the first time in history that our municipality has been split into two electoral ridings: Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, and the newly formed Fort McMurray-Conklin.
It's also expected that Alberta's first female premier will be elected, as Alison Redford of the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith lead the right-wing charge.
"It has been the most exciting that I think any of us can remember on the provincial level," said Dennis Westergaard, a Political Science professor at Keyano College. "I think that's because this year for the first time in a provincial election in many years gone by there's a sense that we actually have a bit of a horse race going on here. There's a definite possibility that the government could actually change hands," Westergaard added.
Westergaard also says that both factors will likely lead to a "very significant " rise in local voter turnout.
In the last provincial election held in 2008, less than 20% of eligible voters cast their ballot, re-electing Guy Boutilier as MLA for the fourth straight time.
This time Boutilier is seeking re-election for the first time flying under the Wildrose banner, after being kicked out of the PC caucus in 2009.
The incumbent is running again in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo against PC candidate Mike Allen, NDP candidate Denise Woollard and Liberal hopeful Amy McBain.
In Fort McMurray-Conklin Ted Remenda represents the Liberals, Paul Pomerleau is the NDP candidate, former Fort McMurray mayor Doug Faulkner is the Wildrose hopeful and city councillor Don Scott is running for the Tories.
Polls are open today from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm.
Fort McMurray News will carry results live as they come in.