BANFF-KANANASKIS – The official provincial election results are in and the Banff-Kananaskis MLA-elect for the NDP has secured another 104 votes in the riding.
According to Elections Alberta, the margin of votes has increased from 199 to 303 in favour of the NDP’s Sarah Elmeligi over former UCP MLA Miranda Rosin.
“I’m happy to see these final results,” said Elmeligi. “But I have also been operating under the assumption that I was the MLA elect and I’m glad that I still am.”
Elmeligi was quick to give praise to Rosin for her four years of service, and to the other two participating candidates who ran for the Green Party and Solidary Movement of Alberta in Banff-Kananaskis.
“I do want to thank Ms. Rosin for her years of service to our riding, she did some good things for our riding and being an MLA is hard work,” she said. “It is nice to also take a moment to thank Regan Boychuk and Kyle Jubb for their participation in our election.
“I think democracy is all about choice and we were really lucky to have four candidates who all offered different options to voters. I’m very thankful for their participation in the process.”
The MLA-elect secured 11,562 votes, or 49.7 per cent of the vote, with Rosin as a close second with 11,259 votes, or 48.4 per cent. Ballots for Boychuk totalled 336 votes for 1.4 per cent of the vote, and 105 voters supported Jubb, for 0.5 per cent of the vote. Total voter turnout for the riding was 67.5 per cent.
Unofficial results had 11,487 votes for Elmeligi, 11,288 for Rosin, 342 for Boychuk and 156 for Jubb.
Robyn Bell, a spokesperson for Elections Alberta, said because the unofficial vote count was higher than a margin of 101 votes for the winning candidate and runner-up, a full recount was not warranted. This only occurs if the margin is 100 or fewer votes.
Instead, the office responsible for the administration of provincial elections in Alberta, reviewed the Banff-Kananaskis riding statement of votes again and what was inputted in the system on election night (May 29).
“We reviewed all of the tabulator result tapes again and then reviewed any ballots that were rejected or objected to,” said Bell. “It’s quite common to see a difference between the unofficial and the official count.”
An example of an objected ballot could include if a voter wrote a response rather than selecting a candidate on their ballot, resulting in an elections officer sorting it into a rejected pile.
“That may be a scenario where the scrutineer might object to how that ballot is interpreted. Then what happens is a form is filled out and it’s attached to the ballot, and then when we do the official count, the returning officer takes a second look at that ballot and decides if it should go a certain way or if it should be a rejected ballot,” said Bell.
“That’s where we see some discrepancies between the unofficial and official count.”
The Banff-Kananaskis riding has 30,582 registered voters, comprising a small portion of the 2,840,813 registered voters in Alberta. However, 23,262 people voted in the riding comprising a turnout of 75.39 per cent.
Elmeligi thanked all the riding’s constituents who casted their vote in the election, regardless of who they voted for.
“I’m very grateful to everybody who showed up at the polls,” she said. “Our riding had the eighth highest voter turnout in the province, and that’s great. That’s really something to be celebrated. It really means that people in our riding are engaged in the democratic process and the high voter turnout is fantastic.”
As MLA-elect for the NDP in Banff-Kananaskis, Elmeligi said her first couple weeks before she is officially sworn in June 19, has mostly entailed “responding to emails [and] putting community events in my calendar I’m planning to attend.”
She also recently attended MLA training in Edmonton.
“That was really, really insightful and quite exciting. It was very exciting to sit in chambers and realize the gravitas of what is happening in my life right now and the role that I’m going to be playing to represent all of the constituents in our riding,” Elmeligi said.
“Mostly I’m just kind of settling in and getting my feet wet and trying to make a plan for how I can support our community going forward.”
After the official election results were released, Rosin released a statement Tuesday (June 13) thanking her UCP colleagues, including premier Danielle Smith and former premier Jason Kenney, as well as her supporters in the riding.
“I need to thank the thousands of you living in Banff-Kananaskis who I had the opportunity to work with and get to know over my term. Together we were able to secure a whopping 12 major infrastructure projects in our communities, in addition to the many other small upgrades and investments,” she said in the statement.
“While the results of Banff-Kananaskis may have been what we hoped, I have every confidence and optimism in Danielle Smith and my colleagues who are returning to the Legislature. Alberta’s best days truly lay ahead, and I remain excited to see what the future will hold.”
Rosin, who gave a victory speech on election night when it appeared as though she might win the riding with a lead of around 2,000 votes at times while votes were still being counted, did not officially concede defeat in her statement, though it is presumed she will not be proceeding with a judicial review.
If she does, however, Rosin will have until June 16 to request a judicial recount, which requires an application to the Court of King’s Bench. If the application is accepted, then a recount would occur.
Conditions of the recount, according to Elections Alberta, would depend on the judge’s decision and could include a recount of the tabulated ballots, manually counted ballots, or a full recount.
The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.