Early voting already underway across Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s provincial election might not be until Aug.17, but early voting is already underway at 55 returning offices across the province.

“It’s been slow with respect to voters. We’re hoping that they’ll soon start to come to our office,” said Eric Cottreau, the returning officer for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville.

Voters don’t need to be within their own riding to cast a ballot at a returning office before election day — which is helpful for anyone who’s vacationing this summer. On election day, voters must vote in the assigned voting location. Elections Nova Scotia is encouraging people to vote early.

“From the voters’ standpoint they can feel more secure with COVID because you won’t have the lineups to deal with that you’ll have on voting day,” Cottreau said.

The deadline for parties to nominate candidates isn’t until July 28.Voters who cast their ballots before then will be asked to select the party they would like to vote for, rather than the person — although the ballot also has a space for voters to write in the name of the candidate they wish to vote for in case the candidate is running as an Independent.

As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, not all parties had a full slate of candidates. The New Democratic Party had candidates for all 55 ridings but the Progressive Conservatives still hadn’t filled the spot in Cumberland North, which was left vacant after a split between the incumbent and the party. The Liberals also need to fill two spots, one in Cumberland South and the other in Dartmouth South after that candidate dropped out of the race.

During the 2017 Nova Scotia provincial election, voter turnout dropped to an all-time low of 53.4 per cent. Officials at Elections Nova Scotia hope early voting options will bump up participation.

“We’re anticipating for the 41st provincial general election that we will have an uptake in early voting even more so than we had in the 2017 election,” said Naomi Shelton, a spokesperson for Elections Nova Scotia.

Early voting is open any day of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sunday.


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