Explaining the long wait for N.S. election results
Published Thursday, June 1, 2017 6:37PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:22PM ADT
The results of Nova Scotia’s provincial election slowed to a trickle Tuesday night, with a Liberal majority government only becoming clear after 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Elections Nova Scotia tells CTV News the ballot counting took longer than they anticipated, and the reason lies largely in the response to a new way of voting.
In keeping with its mandate to provide a number of options for voting, the agency introduced several changes this year. Advance polls were open for seven days instead of two, and Nova Scotians could vote in early polls anywhere in the province.
Those out-of-district ballots were being counted at Election Nova Scotia's offices on Tuesday night. Communications and policy director Andy LeBlanc says there were nearly 22,000 out-of-district ballots to count, and 25 teams of people counting. But as the night wore on, the number of teams dwindled to around 20.
Elections Nova Scotia says it may make some changes for next time, but the agency doesn't regret offering new ways to vote.
"We felt successful that we were able to create more open voting opportunities. We had a record number of early voting opportunity votes, what we needed also was the ability to count that big batch of votes quickly," says LeBlanc.
LeBlanc adds that Elections Nova Scotia will be assessing the entire election in the coming days.
The leader of Nova Scotia’s official opposition says the delay shows that electoral reform is needed so Elections Nova Scotia has time to be prepared.
"It just cries out for fixed election dates in my opinion. This was a snap election called in the middle of Mr. McNeil's mandate by the premier himself," says PC leader Jamie Baillie.
While a record number of Nova Scotians voted early, it didn't make a difference in the overall turnout. Only 54% of eligible voters cast a ballot – a record low.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie.