Nova Scotia

Polls close in Nova Scotia

There was some confusion at the polls as Nova Scotians picked the 11 people to represent them in Ottawa.

There was some confusion at the polls Tuesday as Nova Scotians picked the 11 people to represent them in Ottawa.

Federal election voting booths opened Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. AT around the province. The polls closed at 8:30 p.m.

In Halifax, some students at Dalhousie University had to make a return trip to the polling station after discovering they didn't have proper voter identification.

Kristin Sinel lined up at the Student Union Building with a voter card and some ID but no signed form from her university residence stating her address.

"This ridiculous," Sinel said. "If they wanted this information from me, they should have asked for it ahead of time."

In fact, nearly two-thirds of the students showing up to cast a ballot on campus were turned away because they didn't have a signed form or were off-campus students, said Mark Coffin, vice-president of education on the Dalhousie student council.

He said he feared students who were turned away didn't go back to vote.

"You know, 1.4 million young Canadians didn't vote in the last election," Coffin said. "Well, these new rules aren't making it any easier for students to vote."

For the first time, voters were required to show proof of who they are and where they live, such as a driver's licence.

They could also show two pieces of identification that include their name and address, such as a health card and bank statement. The third option was to swear an oath and be vouched for by a registered voter.

Canadian passports could not be used as the sole piece of identification because they don't include an address.

Elections Canada had warned there could be delays and confusion at the voting booths.

Elections Canada spokesman Dana Doiron said the old system of having people declare who they are at the polls worked well.

"Elections Canada really administers rules, we don't make them up as we go along. There was no reason in the past to believe that [fraud] was going to present a problem. And frankly, I don't know of a history of problems with that system."

Doiron said only members of Parliament can explain why they voted to change the rules.

Nova Scotia seats at dissolution:

Liberal - 6

Conservative - 2

NDP - 2

Independent - 1

At an advance poll, one voter was turned away because his driver's licence included a post office box, not a civic address. By the time he returned, elections officials had decided to accept his ID.

Officials said they would accept rural route and post office box addresses if they correspond with the voters' list.

Tuesday was also the day of the advance poll for provincewide municipal elections, which could also add to the confusion.

'Too many' campaign signs

With federal, municipal and school board election campaigns underway, voters like Dee McGraw said they'll be happy to see the signs come down.

"I think it's over the top, because there's just too many of them," said McGraw, who walks by about two dozen signs at a busy intersection in Cole Harbour every day. "We know who's running. We know what's going on. They're everywhere. It's unsightly."

Doiron said there are few rules about how quickly campaign signs should be removed after the federal vote, but suspects they could come down faster because municipal candidates are vying for voters' attention this Saturday.

"I would expect that some of the best and prime spots that have been taken by federal signs may be replaced by municipal signs," he said.

Nova Scotia has 11 federal ridings. The only one without an incumbent is Halifax, where former federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough has stepped down after more than a decade as a member of Parliament.