Nova Scotia

E-vote changes CBRM candidates' tactics

Electronic voting has changed the nature of campaigning in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality as one-third of eligible voters have already cast their ballots in the region's municipal election.

One-third of voters have cast their ballots in advanced poll

The five mayoral candidates in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality gather for a debate at Cape Breton University. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

Electronic voting has changed the nature of campaigning in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality as one-third of eligible voters have already cast their ballots in the region's municipal election.

"It meant we had to be ready a bit earlier," said Rankin MacSween, one of the five candidates for mayor.

"Certainly we are well aware by the time we were ready to move into the Thanksgiving weekend, we had to be in good shape."

The other mayoralty candidates in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality are Elizabeth Barrie, Cecil Clarke, Wilf Isaac and Glenn Jessome.

Electronic voting was on Isaac's mind at a mayoral debate at Cape Breton University on Wednesday.

"How many people have already voted here, online or by telephone? Put your hand up. Oh, I still have an audience to talk to," he said, after several students indicated they hadn't voted yet.

Out of a total of 82,223 eligible voters, 26,949 people have either gone online or used the phone to vote electronically. Polls for electronic voting closed Tuesday evening.

That means 32.8 per cent of voters can no longer be swayed before the paper ballots open on Saturday.

"It was a bit like campaigning during election day because you would be knocking on the door and people would say, 'Oh I already voted,' or 'I already voted for you,' which was kind of a different dynamic," said MacSween.

Both MacSween and Clarke said they were not going to slow down their campaigning and pointed out there are still two-thirds of the population who need to cast their votes.

"With over 50,000, close to 50,000 doorsteps, no candidate can physically do it all. But it doesn't stop my plan until Saturday to be on as many doorsteps as I can," said Clarke.

Polls will open for people to cast paper ballots on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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