Nunavut all set for land referendum, chief electoral officer says
'This is really a plebiscite that's happening in 25 individual communities,' Sandy Kusugak
Nunavut's chief electoral officer says preparations are underway for the territory's land referendum on May 9.
A 'yes' vote means hamlet and city councils will be able to sell municipal lots to individuals or companies and a 'no' means continuing to lease them for a fee. Each hamlet will decide for their own community.
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"This is really a plebiscite that's happening in 25 individual communities," said Sandy Kusugak, Nunavut's chief electoral officer.
"So it's 25 individual results, so the result in Resolute or Grise Fjord doesn't influence the result in Iqaluit, and the result in Baker Lake does not influence the result in Rankin Inlet," added Kusugak.
Since the referendum is being held by the territorial government, local councils are free to campaign for a particular outcome.
"Any community group or group of individuals, or the municipalities themselves can take a position on this," said Kusugak.
"There's not required neutrality except on the part of the government," added Kusugak.
Preparation underway for the vote
The training for the staff to assist with the election will take place during March and the offices will open during the first week of April, said Kusugak.
The government of Nunavut has created a website, posters and a brochure about the land referendum. As part of their work on the referendum, Elections Nunavut will review this material to ensure that the material produced is neutral.
The territorial government is also hosting information sessions in communities across the territory starting in February.
May 2 is the date for the advance poll, the election offices will be open from noon until 7pm for voters who wish to cast their ballot early.
Students, prisoners and others who may be living temporarily in a community other than their permanent home can apply for a special mail-in ballot.
"They should have no problem completing their ballot and sending it back within the given time, before plebiscite day," said Kusugak who added that the ballot must reach their office by 5pm on May the 9th in order to count.
No ID needed to vote
Kusugak said in most communities there will be no need to take identification in order to vote as Elections Nunavut maintains a permanent voters list..
"Once you're registered you'll never have to show identification again, unless your identification was challenged by somebody at the polling station," said Kusugak.
The small tight knit communities in Nunavut also negate the need for proof of identity.
"Ninety-five per cent of the time in Nunavut the person registering you is going to know you, they might be your uncle, or your nephew or your brother or your son, and there's no need to demand that people show their driver's license in those cases," added Kusugak.