Nova Scotia's e-voting underway ahead of municipal elections
20 municipalities are offering e-voting this year — and one's totally done away with paper ballots
Electronic voting in Nova Scotia's municipal election is underway in some communities two weeks before the official polling date of Oct. 15.
Across the province, 20 municipalities are offering internet or telephone options to voters. Shelburne is offering e-voting along with paper ballots for the first time.
"It began [Monday] morning at 8 a.m. and runs through to the close of voting on election day," said Dylan Heide, Shelburne's chief administrative officer.
Helpful for voters with accessibility issues
In 2012, Shelburne had a 66.9 per cent voter turnout, which is higher than many municipalities in Nova Scotia and at least as good as provincial and federal elections. Town officials say increasing voter turnout is not the only reason to provide electronic voting options.
"The people who benefit the most are people with accessibility issues, travel issues, or [who] have health concerns," said Heide.
E-voting days vary from community to community, but the service will be underway in every municipality offering the option by the end of the week.
Some allow e-voting to continue until the polls close on Oct. 15. Others shut down the service on the days paper ballots are available.
No paper ballots in Digby
For the second election in a row, Digby is only providing internet and phone service, so no paper ballots are available.
"The comments we heard were mostly positive basically because you weren't restricted to one day of voting," said Tom Ossinger, Digby's chief administrative officer. "It's a lot more freedom."
Ossinger said it also means the returning officer and a deputy returning officer can run the election without the need for polling clerks. He said the tabulation of results is also done within minutes.
Digby officials will still set up an e-voting site at a downtown building on election day.
E-voting start dates in Nova Scotia:
- Cape Breton Regional Municipality: Oct. 5
- Halifax Regional Municipality: Oct. 4
- Town of Antigonish: Oct. 6
- Municipality of Argyle: Oct. 7
- Town of Berwick: Oct. 6
- Town of Bridgewater: Oct. 6
- Municipality of Clare: Oct. 7
- Municipality of Digby: Oct. 6
- Town of Digby: Oct. 6
- Town of Kentville: Oct. 6
- Municipality of Lunenburg: Oct. 6
- Town of Middleton: Oct. 6
- Municipality of Pictou: Oct. 3
- Town of Pictou: Oct. 3
- Town of Shelburne: Oct. 3
- Town of Stewiacke: Oct. 8
- Town of Truro: Oct. 6
- Municipality of Victoria: Oct. 6
- Town of Windsor: Oct. 6
- Town of Yarmouth: Oct. 7