Election ballots in St. John's went out in the mail on Friday, giving residents the opportunity to vote two and a half weeks before election day.

The mail-in voting system changes the way many candidates are campaigning.

"Once the ballots come out, the majority of people who are planning to vote, so I've been told, will do so within the first two or three days," Ward 3 candidate Sarah Colborne Penney said.


Sarah Colborne Penney is running in Ward 3 in St. John's. (CBC)

Getting a head start in the race is especially important for first-time candidates.

"The incumbent probably has a profile built already, and so as a new candidate you're very aware that you need to build your profile and you need to probably do it earlier. I launched my campaign in April with that in mind," Colborne Penney said.

She isn't the only one who planned ahead.

"Once people get the mail-in kits on Monday, they have almost two weeks to fill it out, so you have to work very, very hard," said at-large candidate Art Puddister.

"Instead of peaking on election day, you essentially work over that two-week period to get as many votes as you possibly can."

Defeated in the last election, Puddister has had his election signs up and has been campaigning since mid-July.

Puddister supports the mail-in ballot.

"With the mail-in ballot it's actually very convenient for seniors, people with physical challenges, they can fill out the ballot in the comfort and privacy of their own homes and mail it. It's actually a good way to get the vote out." 

Colborne Penney suggested the city explore online voting in addition to the mail-in ballot, to be more accessible and inclusive.

The mail-in ballot however is not fool-proof. People in St. John's famously re-elected Dorothy Wyatt in 2001, even though she had died just days before election day.

With files from Curtis Rumbolt