Despite some hiccups, first pandemic election was a success in N.B.
FREDERICTON -- The idea of holding a provincial election during a pandemic left some people wondering just how smoothly Election Day would go.
Many are declaring Elections New Brunswick a winner for the quick results and steady voter turnout, but it wasn’t without hiccups along the way.
"We were very pleased with how things went," said Kim Poffenroth, New Brunswick's chief electoral officer.
Within an hour of polls closing on Monday night, a clear result had been achieved.
That's a victory for Elections New Brunswick and Poffenroth.
"Results came in quickly from the tabulation machine, a lot of voters voted in advanced polls, and those machines are able to transmit the results almost as soon as the polls close," said Poffenroth.
More than 133,000 voted in advance polls -- about 50 per cent more than 2018.
"What will be interesting to see in the next election to see whether or not those trends where people move to new ways of voting, that they haven't used in the past, if that’s something that will continue," Poffenroth said.
The voter turnout held steady between 2018 and 2020 at 66 per cent.
Not everybody had an easy time casting a ballot on Monday. Many students at Mount Allison University say they were turned away at polling stations even though they had every right to vote.
"Pretty much everybody who voted before 3 p.m., I’d say a majority of those students were affected," said Mount Allison Student’s Union president Jonathan Ferguson. "Most students were being turned away, over 50 per cent."
Ferguson said there were well over 100 examples of students being denied the right to vote on Monday in Sackville.
He said it took an intervention from Poffenroth herself to clarify what rules actually were.
"I certainly don’t know if every student who was initially turned away was able to return, but they were satisfied by the way we addressed it here from Fredericton," Poffenroth said. "A lot of the lessons that will be learned from this election will be from the workers that were the front line -- what worked, what didn’t work, what needs to be modified for the next election."
In New Brunswick, that next election is now on the calendar for 2024.