Halifax voters love the convenience, safety of electronic voting
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's municipal elections are this weekend, but already records are being broken.
In Halifax, the number of people who have voted electronically is already higher than the total number of people who voted in 2016.
People who will be working polling stations Saturday around the Halifax Regional Municipality were picking up their materials Thursday. They gathered up ballot boxes and privacy screens -- all the items you'd need to hold a traditional vote.
About 4,000 people have already marked a paper ballot in the Halifax municipal election and about 99,000 people voted on their phone or online -- an option they did not have four years ago.
"To hit over 103,000 voters during an advanced period for our election is really a milestone because in 2016 our turnout was 90,000 total for all the methods and all the election days," said Trish Smith, HRM's election co-ordinator.
Many voters say they took advantage of electronic voting because of the convenience. Others said it was because of health concerns brought on by the pandemic.
"I took the opportunity because of social distancing and trying to keep away from crowded and contaminated areas," said one Halifax voter. "I stayed at home and used my telephone."
Thirty-five per cent of eligible voters have turned out virtually to vote in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Electronic voting in the HRM ran for a little over week, finishing Wednesday.
Traditional polling stations will be open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"The polls are being cleaned between each use," Smith said. "There are single-use pencils for people to mark their ballots with."
People voting by paper on Saturday are being warned the wait could be a bit longer than usual because of COVID-19 related precautions.