The deadline to purchase a United Conservative Party (UCP) membership to vote for the party’s next leader and Premier is this Friday at midnight.
Members must be a permanent resident of Alberta who is older than 14 years of age. The membership costs $10 for one year, $20 for two years or $30 for three years.
Members can also vote via mail-in ballot. Mail-in ballots will be sent out sometime after the Friday cutoff, and must be returned before October 3.
The Brian Jean and Leela Aheer campaigns told True North they expect around or slightly less than 100,000 Albertans to vote in the contest.
Leela Aheer’s campaign manager Sarah Biggs said the team is happy with their membership sales and is expecting less than 100,000 people to vote in the contest.
“But I am hoping that our efforts will be showing a significant increase in the membership base,” Biggs said in a statement to True North.
The Jean campaign said they expect membership to be around 100,000 people “which is quite an accomplishment in the middle of summer.”
“We expect that the majority of those members will vote but you never have everyone vote,” the campaign said in a statement to True North.
The Jean campaign also said it desires an updated membership list as soon as possible following the closing of sales on Friday.
“The list the campaigns are currently working off of is already almost three weeks out of date.”
Campaign spokesperson for Travis Toews Christine Myatt, said the UCP has one of the largest memberships of any political party in the country, but it’s only a fraction of the Alberta population.
“We hope that as many Albertans as possible sign up for their $10 UCP membership by August 12 in order to have a say in this pivotal election,” Myatt said in a statement to True North.”We also hope that everyone who holds a current UCP membership will participate in choosing Alberta’s next Premier.”
If 100,00 people vote in the contest, that marks just over 2% of Alberta’s population of 4.4 million who engage in the process.
In the 2017 UCP leadership race which elected Premier Jason Kenney, less than 60,000 votes were cast. But that race only elected a party leader, while this race will also elect a Premier who will inherit a $3.9 billion surplus and the upcoming surplus is projected to be the largest in Alberta’s history.
UCP leadership candidate Rajan Sawhney and her team are focused on signing up as many Albertans as possible to be part of the leadership election vote, as well as reaching out to the existing members, said campaign advisor Ryan Hastman.
“We look forward to continuing to share Rajan’s strong plan to move Alberta forward with UCP members from every corner of the province,” Hastman said in a statement to True North.
A statement from the Rebecca Schulz campaign said, “We will continue to sell memberships until the deadline and we’re looking forward to meeting new and existing members in the upcoming months.”
Danielle Smith’s campaign declined to comment on membership numbers, but the candidate has been encouraging Albertans to sign up before it’s too late.
Candidate Todd Loewen did not respond to a request for comment.
Premier Kenney triggered a leadership race in May, just after he barely survived a leadership review with 51.4% of support from party members. He will step down once the new leader is selected.
In-person voting will occur on October 6, the same day the votes will be announced.