Election in Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park postponed after candidate's death

A byelection will be held in District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park following the death of Green Party candidate Josh Underhay, Elections P.E.I. says.

Elections P.E.I. said there will be an announcement in the coming weeks about the date of byelection

The P.E.I. Elections Act says a byelection must be held if a candidate dies before an election. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

The death of a candidate has forced the election in District 9 to be postponed.

Elections P.E.I. says a byelection will be held in Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park following the death on Friday of Green Party candidate Josh Underhay, 

In a statement, Elections P.E.I. said when a candidate dies before an election, it is required to enact Section 45 of the Election Act.

It reads:

"45. (2) If a candidate, officially nominated, dies between the close of nominations and of the poll, the Chief Electoral Officer shall issue his or her certificate, in the manner set forth in section 8, upon which certificate the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall then

(a) order the withdrawal of the grant of poll;

(b) fix the date of a new ordinary polling day which shall be not more than three months from the date of the death of the candidate, and the writ shall be deemed to have been amended accordingly."

Elections P.E.I. said there will be an announcement in the coming weeks about the date of the byelection.

"Elections P.E.I. was very saddened to learn about the passing of Josh Underhay and his son. We offer our thoughts and prayers to their family, friends and colleagues," the statement said.

All other districts go to the polls on April 23.

Joseph Jeffrey, clerk of the Legislative Assembly of P.E.I., said a government will still be formed after the election if a party comes away with the majority of seats.

It gets more complicated, he said, if there is tie.

There is a precedent. In 1966, Liberal candidate William Acorn died before the election. There was no election in that district, and Liberals and Progressive Conservatives each ended up winning 15 seats.

The Liberals won the byelection and formed government under Premier Alex Campbell.

"Until that happened there wasn't much going on in government at that stage," Jeffrey said. "They were waiting to see what the decision was made to see who formed government, who had the majority."

While voters in District 9 won't be casting their ballots for an MLA on April 23, they can still vote on the referendum on electoral reform.

The ballots cast in the advance polls related to electoral reform will count, but the ballots cast to elect an MLA in District 9 will be destroyed, Elections P.E.I. said.