Nova Scotia voter turnout remains virtually unchanged
59 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, compared to 58 per cent in 2009
Voter turnout in Nova Scotia has remained virtually unchanged in this provincial election compared to the last, with 59 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots this year as opposed to 58 per cent four years ago.
Of the nearly 710,000 electors in the province, roughly 414,880 people cast ballots to elect the members of the 62nd general assembly, according to unofficial results.
Voter turnout in the province has been dropping steadily in the last two decades, with 75 per cent of voters casting ballots in 1993 and 69 per cent in 1998. By 2009, that number had dropped to 58 per cent — an all-time low in Nova Scotia.
With that in mind, Elections Nova Scotia made advance voting easier for this election.
Nova Scotia used continuous polling in this election — a first for a provincial election in Canada. That means voters were able to vote every day of the campaign except Sundays by using a write-in ballot at any returning office, open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Elections Nova Scotia workers also took write-in ballots to residents of homeless shelters, hospitals and nursing homes with more than 10 beds. There were mail-in ballots for eligible voters who are in jail and special polls were set up at universities and colleges.
Still, Elections Nova Scotia officials warned that while voting has never been easier, a higher turnout was not guaranteed.
"The main reason for these changes is to remove obstacles that people found as difficulties between them and voting," Dana Doiron, the director of policy and communications at Elections Nova Scotia, said at the time.
"There's no way that we can actually, through facilities, help people to decide to vote if they didn't want to vote. But if you want to vote, we want to make sure that you have that opportunity."