Elections P.E.I. receives funding to prepare for 'anticipated spring election'
Province provides additional $350,000
The P.E.I. government has provided Elections P.E.I. with additional funding in order to prepare for an election, just the latest sign Islanders could be headed to the polls this spring.
On March 5, cabinet approved an additional $350,000 in funding for Elections P.E.I., plus a further $350,000 for P.E.I.'s referendum commissioner. Both amounts are beyond funding which was laid out for both groups in the province's 2018-19 budget.
Chief electoral officer Tim Garrity said the funding is for "election supplies and preparedness."
"With an anticipated spring election, we have to be prepared and are ordering supplies and materials," he said.
Garrity said because there was no election scheduled during the fiscal year for 2018-19, the $325,200 allocated to Elections P.E.I. in the annual budget did not include any election funding.
The province started the year with a number of vacant positions for district returning officers. Garrity said an official announcement on filling those vacancies should be made within the week as the selected candidates are appointed by cabinet.
"We have been working towards [election preparedness] for some time and are in a good place of readiness," Garrity said.
According to the fixed date set in P.E.I.'s Election Act, the province is set to go to the polls in October. According to the legislation, if the federal election goes ahead as planned, P.E.I.'s next provincial election is to be held in the spring of 2020.
However, Premier Wade MacLauchlan can ask the province's lieutenant-governor to call an election at any time. There is widespread speculation the election will come this spring.