alberta liberals register more than 27,000 eligible voters. no surprise that their leadeship contest is a largely urban affair.

2011 Map of Alberta Liberal Leadership Registered Supporters per constituency

Map of eligible voters in the September 10 Liberal leadership contest by constituency.

The Alberta Liberal Party announced yesterday that over 27,567 Albertans are eligible to vote in their party’s September 10 leadership contest. The eligible group of supporters include 3,690 paid members and 23,877 “registered supporters” who could participate by registering their name and contact information without a fee.

Following complaints from leadership candidate and Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA Hugh MacDonald that the list was filled with fake names, including a cat, a dead woman, and former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, the Liberals have culled the list of obvious forgeries (which are to be expected in any leadership contest). Former Edmonton-Meadowlark Tory MLA Raj Sherman claims to have registered over 18,000 of the 27,000 eligible voters. Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman claims that her campaign submitted names for around 1,000. The two other candidates in the contest are Calgarians Bill Harvey and Bruce Payne.

Although the Liberal leadership contest has by far been overshadowed by the more glamorous Progressive Conservative leadership contest set for September 17 (in which over 150,000 Albertans are expected to participate), I am impressed that the Liberals have been able to collect the names of over 27,000 potential supporters. Regardless if these registered supporters actually vote in their leadership contest, their names are now entered into a database that will be useful for the Liberals in the next provincial election.

Not surprisingly, eligible voters in this contest are largely centered in the two main cities of Calgary and Edmonton, highlighting Liberal Party’s almost non-existent levels of support in rural Alberta. Even in a constituency like Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, with a population estimated to be more than 100,000, the Liberals only attracted 134 people to register to vote in their leadership contest.

Unlike traditional one-member-one-vote leadership selection structures, the Liberals have opted to use a weighted-preferential system in constituencies with large numbers of voters. The slightly confusing system is explained on the party’s leadership website:

Each constituency in Alberta is allocated up to 500 points, where each vote up to that number represents one point. Should more than 500 voters cast a ballot in a constituency, each vote in the constituency is applied a weighing formula.

As there are only 15 constituencies with more than 500 eligible voters, it is likely that this system may only be implemented in a handful of them. The only constituency to register more than 1,000 supporters was Edmonton-Whitemud.

Click here to view a breakdown of eligible voters by constituency (pdf)

11 thoughts on “alberta liberals register more than 27,000 eligible voters. no surprise that their leadeship contest is a largely urban affair.

  1. Chris LaBossiere

    Largely this has been a success for the Liberals, and as much as I have made fun of the quality of the “support” it will help to build short-term attention. It was a good idea by the Party.

    One thing I noticed is 83/84 Constituencies on the list. Is there one CA without a Liberal member, and it would be fun trivia to knwo which one.

    Good analysis Dave.

    Reply
  2. Albertosauras

    Fort McMurray citizens attribute their lavish incomes and lifestyle to the largesse of the Tories hell bent on mining our resources so no surprise there.
    And likewise, rural area voters know what side their bread’s buttered on so will not look for stewardship that doesn’t continue the gravy train from our tax and royalty revenues. Lloyd – the truck driver budget head – Snelgrove, rules.

    Reply
  3. Lou Arab

    I’m not sure how impressive these numbers are.

    27,000 supporters (and there is no way to know how many are really supporters and how many just want to vote in the leadership race) pales when seen across the province’s 87 electoral districts.

    In the last federal election, many NDP campaigns identified over 10,000 supporters in individual federal ridings. Linda Duncan identified several thousand sign locations in her riding alone. I’m sure the Tory numbers are even more impressive.

    Look a little more closely and you see incumbent Liberal MLAs with as little as 21 paid up members in their ridings (Calgary McCall). That doesn’t show a great network of support.

    If 27,000 names on a list is impressive, it’s because of how bad the list was when they started.

    Reply
  4. The Invisible Hand

    Chris LaBossiere: One thing I noticed is 83/84 Constituencies on the list. Is there one CA without a Liberal member, and it would be fun trivia to knwo which one.

    There are 83 constituencies under the current boundaries, not 84.

    Reply
  5. @Christ LaB.

    Chris, the Liberals are going to come right of centre, just shortly after the next leadership vote. You should seriously consider amalgamating with them and contemplated a blended policy with them. This party has changed and so much and been changing. It makes no sense for two parties on the political spectrum, that are overlapping to be separate entities. I don’t mean to be a detractor, but the AP started as the progressives’ answer to the conservatives’ creation of the Wildrose. The time has never been better to capitalize on a strengthened just left of centre to right of centre party. Just take the time to really think of the democratic reform that can be brought here and balance to governance. The is the whole point of public life, to serve as many people as you can. This way, a greatly stengthened opposition can keep the CONS more honest. The current split of votes favors the Conservatives. Its time that short sightedness and pre-conceived notions be cast away and an opportunity to Punt the Conservatives be put into motion. Rest assured, minor personality differences and old squabbles can be fixed with a cookie, some coffee and a few hugs. There are challenges ahead and electoral victories to be had, but only if we chose to be strong together.

    Reply
  6. Darren

    So what? The Liberals are still going to lose the next election. All Conservatives know that Raj Sherman is not the second coming that the Liberals are looking for. We worked with him for 3 years. Have fun.

    Reply
  7. @Darren

    Give your head a shake. For 3 yrs, you guys stonewalled Sherman and shut him out. He was not allowed to bring any solutions to play for health or anything else for that matter, not to mention the smear campaign. The Sherman tank has propelled the Liberals again and knows how this kurrupt regime works. Good luck finding a life boat once the Titanic starts sinking, none of the other parties will want any of you loyalist deadwood floorcrossers.

    Reply
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