Nfld. & Labrador

No advance polls in Nain, but you could cast a special ballot in a man's house

Nain's community leader says a lack of information on how to vote before May 16 left people unable to vote.

Community leader says lack of communication left people unable to vote

Nain is the northernmost community in Labrador. (Ossie Michelin)
Joe Dicker is the AngajukKak of Nain. (Nunatsiavut.com)

With advance polls open across the province, residents of Nain were confused on how to vote Thursday, says the community leader, and some will be unable to vote because of it.

Joe Dicker said he fielded calls from three people who needed to vote ahead of the May 16 provincial election because they were going out of town for medical appointments or vacation.

But there was no advance polling station in the community, and Dicker — the AngajukKak, or mayor, of Nain — said he wasn't given any information on how they could vote.

"If there's been any communication in that regard, it hasn't been communicated to this office and not to myself," he told Labrador Morning. "So that concerns me."

Special ballot voting at Boas Bennett's house

There were advance polls open in Postville and Makkovik, but Elections NL says there hasn't been one in Nain since before the 2011 election.

Since the end of April voters there have been able to cast special ballots at the home of Boas Bennett — a local Nain resident.

Still, people in Nain took to social media, asking questions about where they could vote in advance polls, and some posted it was at Bennett's house, which was incorrect.

"Why would it be at someone's home?" one resident wrote. "Seems unacceptable to me."

The confusion could have been avoided, Dicker said, if Elections NL had involved the community government more in the process. They could have opened up a board room at the town building for a polling station, which has been done in the past, he said.

"If we had known that and we had communicated it, people wouldn't have this problem, you know?"

According to Elections NL, 77 special ballots were cast in Nain, out of about 2,000 eligible voters in the entire Torngat Mountains district.

"The people that called, they want to exercise their right but right now they can't do it or they may have missed the opportunity, because they missed that special [ballot] opportunity to vote," Dicker said. 

"It shows that advance polls are needed for people like that, that are not going to be in the community on the actual voting day."

A total of 21,289 people voted in advance polls across the province Thursday, out of 350,799 eligible voters.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Labrador Morning