Elections NS promotes safe-voting options with campaign expected to start soon
The agency responsible for elections in Nova Scotia says voters will be encouraged to vote early and mail in ballots for the next provincial election, but full COVID-19 protocols will be in place for those who do go to the polls in person.
At a media briefing in Dartmouth on Tuesday, Elections Nova Scotia officials outlined available voting options for the province's 41st general election.
"We have been very prudent in our planning to ensure we have the infection control precautions and protocols in place," said Naomi Shelton, Elections Nova Scotia's policy and communications director.
Along with physical distancing, shields, masks and hand sanitizer, election workers will get COVID-19 training, extra cleaners will be hired, and voting stations will be disinfected along with frequently touched areas.
Elections Nova Scotia says the extra COVID-19 supplies will add about $1 million to the overall election cost.
Liberal Premier Iain Rankin hasn't officially called the election yet, but a flurry of spending announcements in recent weeks have sparked widespread speculation it will happen soon.
Nova Scotia's Chief Electoral Officer Richard Temporale told reporters he had no inside information on when the campaign will formally start.
"Other than to say I am certain it will be announced sometime between today and May of 2022," he said.
Rankin was in Cherry Brook on Tuesday, announcing nearly $5 million for a community led justice institute to support African Nova Scotians.
He said his party was actively seeking more black candidates for the upcoming race.
"It's incredibly important that we have a better reflection of our population," said Rankin.
"We only have one African Nova Scotian in the legislature, and that's unacceptable."
PC Leader Tim Houston hosted his own event in Halifax Tuesday, promising a tax rebate program designed to let companies pay workers more.
"There's an election in the air," Houston said.
"This election will be about healthcare. It'll be about making sure our seniors can age with dignity. Providing mental healthcare. And it'll be about jobs and the economy."
Elections Nova Scotia says eligible voters can complete an on-line application for a write-in ballot before the provincial general election is called.
The on-line application for a write-in ballot is available now at electionsnovascotia.ca or voters can call Elections Nova Scotia at 1-800-565-1504 to have an application sent to them.
When the election is called, voters who have applied early will be asked to verify their information and then Elections Nova Scotia will send them a write-in ballot kit with instructions.
During the election, information about the write-in ballot process and important deadlines will be posted.