Nova Scotia

Elections N.S. reviewing how to tally advance votes in Northside-Westmount byelection

Elections Nova Scotia is reviewing how to count ballots in Northside-Westmount after the Progressive Conservatives switched candidates hours before nominations closed.

Some voters have asked to withdraw advance ballots, says returning officer

A late switch in candidates in the Northside-Westmount byelection has forced Elections Nova Scotia to make a decision how to count advance ballots. (CBC)

Elections Nova Scotia is reviewing how to count advance ballots after a sudden change in byelection candidates in the Cape Breton riding of Northside-Westmount.

Just hours before the deadline to file nomination papers closed Wednesday, the Progressive Conservatives dropped Danny Laffin from the ballot.

Party leader Tim Houston said Laffin failed to comply with the party's internal disclosure process.

Laffin's name is now on the ballot as an Independent candidate. The PCs replaced Laffin on the ballot with Murray Ryan.

Public will know next week

Naomi Shelton, director of policy and communications with Elections Nova Scotia, said this is not a unique situation.

"We are reviewing those previous processes to see if they fit in a line with this situation," she said. "Then we want the opportunity to go over those processes with the candidates and parties involved."

Shelton wouldn't elaborate on what that process might be but said Elections Nova Scotia will inform the public next week.

"We have to determine how we would account for all of those different scenarios where either a candidate's name has been indicated or a party's name has been indicated, or sometimes both," said Shelton.

Before nominations close, advance ballots show the five registered parties in Nova Scotia as well as a blank spot to write in the name of an Independent candidate. They do not include the names of candidates.

"We will have a process that will indicate definitely how we will deal with each ballot," said Shelton.

Returning office getting calls

Bob Cerovich, returning officer for Northside-Westmount, said some residents have asked to withdraw their ballots since the switch in candidates.

"People wish they could have done things differently but unfortunately you cannot unring that bell, and this is one of the prices that we pay for the convenience of early voting," said Cerovich.

He said the advance ballots have been sealed and will be counted on election day. About 135 people voted in the advance poll.

Election day is Sept. 3. There are seven candidates running in the riding.

About the Author

Brittany Wentzell

Current Affairs Reporter/Editor

Brittany Wentzell is based in Sydney, N.S., as a reporter for Information Morning Cape Breton. She has covered a wide range of issues including education, forestry and municipal government. Story ideas? Send them to brittany.wentzell@cbc.ca

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