Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Alberta Electoral Districts

A few months ago, the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission released its report with recommendations on how to redistrict the province for the 2019 election. As I discussed before, this is an important process that occurs every eight to ten years, and is necessary for keeping the provincial electoral boundaries up to date with current population distributions.

As a quick aside, I'd like to thank everyone who, after reading my post on redistributing using the shortest splitline algorithm, actually wrote in to the commission to tell them to do that. Thanks guys!

Redistricting is always a hot topic, as it can lead to accusations of tampering or gerrymandering by those in power. In Alberta the process is ostensibly done by an arms-length body, and as such when the results were unveiled in October the complaints were pretty tame from the parties not in power. The major effect of the redistricting was to merge rural ridings in such a way that three more urban ridings were created.

In 2015, the poll by poll results for Alberta looked like this:

Here, each poll is shaded a darker colour if the party won by 50% of the vote or more. It's pretty fun to zoom around in it!

These polls were fitted to the 2015 riding boundaries, and if we break them out then add the votes back together according to the new 2019 boundaries, we can get a sense of what the outcome for future elections might look like. The process isn't perfect, as not all polls fit precisely into each new riding, but ultimately this is how the 2015 election is likely to have looked under the 2019 redistricting:

This map is coloured the same way as the poll map above.

The impact this would have had on each party is:

  • The total seats won by the NDP wouldn't have changed at 54
  • The total seats won by the Wildrose would have decreased from 21 to 20
  • The total seats won by the PCs would have increased from 10* to 12
  • The Alberta Party would have stayed at 1 seat
  • The Liberals wouldn't have won any
The next election is a little over a year away, and these will be the ridings to be determined in that election. Stay tuned as I work to better develop my seat projection model and poll tracker over the next year!

1 comment:

Julian Haagsma said...

Awesome job! It's helpful to know how that would have affected the existing setup, gives a better feel for the effect of the changes.