BANFF-KANANASKIS – After both the NDP and UCP candidates gave victory speeches, early polling numbers show the NDP's Sarah Elmeligi taking the Banff-Kananaskis riding.
Both Elmeligi of the NDP and UCP incumbent Miranda Rosin delivered victory speeches within minutes of one another.
The polls showed Rosin had a slight advantage over Elmeligi, with some advanced polling stations, special ballot’s and mobile voting stations still to report. However, as those came in, it tipped the balance in Elmeligi's favour, with results showing her taking 11,426 (49.5 per cent) to Rosin's 11,174 (48.4 per cent).
Elmeligi gave her speech at about 11:45 p.m. at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall at roughly the same time Rosin wrapped up her victory speech in Bragg Creek at The Powderhorn Saloon.
Throughout the evening, Rosin led in the riding by as much as 2,500 votes. However, when the advanced votes from the Canmore Miners' Union Hall were entered, it closed the gap to about 500. Following the entry of the mobile voting stations and advanced voting polls from Banff and Canmore it showed Elmeligi in the lead by slightly more than 300.
The riding is often seen as a split between left and right ideals, with Banff and Canmore largely voting NDP and Bragg Creek and Springbank leaning towards UCP.
Throughout the campaigning period, housing and affordability concerns dominated the riding, but so to did ambulance coverage, healthcare, education, Indigenous relations and tourism are of equal priority for residents.
From the outstart of the election, Banff-Kananaskis has been seen as one of the key ridings that could either way.
There are 30,852 registered voters for the riding, comprising a small portion of the 2,840,813 registered voters in Alberta.
The largest number of advanced voters hit the polls this year, with 758,550 people taking advantage of early polls. The number makes up about 27 per cent of registered voters.
Regan Boychuk for the Green Party of Alberta and Kyle Jubb of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta also ran in the riding.
The Outlook will update this story as more information becomes available.