The dust has yet to settle on key battleground ridings in Alberta, after some races were too close to call on election night.
Advance polls ballots could be the deciding factor in at least eight ridings across the province, where the difference between the first and second place candidate was fewer than a thousand votes on Wednesday morning.
The final votes will decide whether the NDP sweeps Edmonton and whether former cabinet ministers return to the legislature.
Elections Alberta will only start counting roughly 223,000 “vote anywhere” advance poll ballots, cast by people voting outside their riding, Wednesday afternoon.
The closest race at the end of the night was in Edmonton-West Henday, where 113 votes separated NDP incumbent Jon Carson and UCP candidate Nicole Williams. Nearly 4,000 votes still need to be counted from the advance polls.
Former NDP Environment Minster Shannon Phillips was holding a 377-vote lead over her UCP opponent Karri Flatla in the riding of Lethbridge-West with 98 percent of polls reporting. There are still 1,751 advance poll ballots that need to be counted in the riding.
The UCP could break the NDP’s grip on Edmonton if Kaycee Madu defeats NDP candidate John Archer in Edmonton-South West. Madu has 768-vote lead with more than 5,600 votes still to be counted.
“Edmonton South-West is hanging in the balance,” said Chaldeans Mensah, political scientist at MacEwan University.
The tight race didn’t stop Madu from confidently declaring victory in a statement early Wednesday morning.
The UCP will look to cement its gains in Calgary when the final votes are counted. UCP candidates led in three races there that remained too close to call on election night.
Devinder Toor held a 163-vote lead over NDP candidate Parmeet Singh in Calgary-Falconridge, with more than 1,700 advance poll votes yet to be counted.
As of early Wednesday morning, CBC had also not projected winners in Calgary-Currie, Calgary-Varsity, Sherwood Park and Banff-Kananaskis.
Unofficial results suggested voter turnout was just above 64 per cent in the province on election night, and potentially as high as 70 per cent when currently uncounted advance ballots are factored in.
The 2019 election saw a significant rise over the 2015 election, when voter turnout was at 57 per cent, and much higher than the record-low turnout of 40.6 per cent in 2008.
The election day turnout was bolstered by a record-breaking turnout in the advance polling. Nearly 700,000 ballots were cast in five days of advance polls, nearly triple the amount cast in 2015 advance polls.