Liberal candidate breaks voting rules, as over 30,000 advance ballots cast
Lynn Hammond contravened Elections Act, officials say
- Liberal candidate guilty of partisanship at polls
- PC Leader Ches Crosbie takes to doors in Windsor Lake
- Over 30,000 votes cast Saturday
Newfoundland and Labrador already has a chunk of checked ballots in its back pocket as of Sunday, less than a week before Election Day.
Out of nearly 370,000 eligible voters, 33,523 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians cast a ballot in Saturday's advance poll, Elections NL said.
That's about a 50 per cent increase over the 2019 election, when 21,289 early bird voters hit up polling stations ahead of the big day.
NDP Leader Alison Coffin was spotted Saturday casting her own vote. So was Liberal candidate Lynn Hammond — dressed in full Liberal garb, with a red branded coat and mask.
The candidate for Conception Bay East-Bell Island posted photos of herself dropping her ballot into the box on her social media accounts, as well as a photo of her ballot, with a checkmark beside her own name.
That drew the attention of critics online, who suspected Hammond of breaking election laws.
CBC News contacted Elections NL about the photos. A spokesperson confirmed Hammond did, indeed, contravene the Elections Act, and said officials notified Hammond of her slip-up.
The spokesperson said Hammond removed the offending photos immediately after being contacted.
Hammond issued an emailed statement to CBC News, but would not do an interview about the matter.
"Elections NL brought to my attention an issue with respect to a social media post," she wrote. "I was unaware I had broken any rules. When Elections NL contacted me I immediately removed the post."
Chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk wasn't available Sunday for an interview, but said in a statement it's not the first time the agency has seen a candidate contravene those regulations.
"Our approach is to contact the candidate directly," the statement said, "and if they comply with our direction to remove the photo in question in a timely manner then we are generally satisfied."
Liberal campaign co-chair John Samms, in response to a question from CBC News Sunday morning, was skeptical Hammond broke any rules.
"The [campaign] is reviewing the matter but at this juncture does not believe the candidate contravened the rules," he said in an emailed statement. "We will not be commenting further at this time out of respect for the complaint process."
He did not provide an updated statement.
Checking up on the leaders
CBC requested an interview with Liberal Leader Andrew Furey twice, once Friday evening and again Saturday morning, but both requests were declined. Furey did grant an interview to another outlet Saturday, but would not speak with CBC.
He usually takes Sundays off for family time.
- Complete coverage: Read all of Newfoundland and Labrador Votes stories
- Who is running in your district? Get the complete list of candidates
Meanwhile, the campaign team for PC Leader Ches Crosbie had him down to spend all afternoon in his own district, Windsor Lake, knocking on doors, while the NDP released a bulletin focusing on home heating rebates in Labrador.
Due to an impending storm, Crosbie's campaign office said he had no events scheduled for Monday.