Nominations close on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.
The Yarmouth NDP riding association has nominated Charles Webster as its candidate in the upcoming provincial election, bringing to three the number of nominated candidates. Webster is a minister.
Liberal Zach Churchill is seeking to retain his seat. Municipal councillor and businessman, John Cunningham is running for the Progressive Conservative banner.
The NDP now has candidates nominated in all ridings. On the PCs website there are no candidates listed yet for the ridings of Preston and Glace Bay. The Liberals also have a full slate. The Green Party has issued a party platform behind its leader John Percy.
Although nominations don't close until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, in this election voters have been casting their ballots since the returning offices opened. By today, Friday, Sept. 20, 215 people had already cast their votes at the office at the corner of John and Second streets (next to the Vanguard). For now, voters are writing in their vote as the named ballots won't be available until after nominations close.
Continuous voting is one of the changes Elections Nova Scotia has instituted since the last general election. During normal open hours, at any returning office, from now until election day, voters can cast their ballots. If they expect to be away from their riding through the election period, they can vote out of their district in any returning office. Arrangements have been made to accommodate the homeless, the acutely ill, the house-bound. Elections Nova Scotia is providing outreach to students and to First Nations. Never has more effort been put into providing voters with the opportunity to exercise their vote.
Except when it comes to electronic voting.
Electronic voting is gaining acceptance from segments of the voting public across Canada, but don’t look for it to come to a provincial or federal election in the near future.
Dana Doiron, Elections Nova Scotia’s director of policy and communications, says it would require legislative amendment of the Elections Act to enable electronic voting. There appears to be little appetite for making those changes around the board table at the Election Commission of Nova Scotia, which provides advice to the province’s chief electoral officer on these matters.
In a recent report to Elections Nova Scotia, the commission acknowledged that “most would agree that online voting is consistent with our increasingly online society”
However, the commission concluded, “The basic questions of how to maintain the security, validity, and integrity of our elections has not yet, in our opinion, been satisfactorily answered. Until credible answers to these questions are available, and until functioning, transparent Internet and telephone voting systems have been demonstrated and proven, extreme caution and prudence is required.”
In 2009 just 58 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the province's general election.
In the 2012 municipal elections, 15 of the province’s 54 municipal units conducted some form of electronic voting. Potentially, 65 per cent of the province’s electorate (including voters whose representatives were acclaimed) had the opportunity to vote electronically.