ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Newfoundland and Labrador's elections authority is once again changing a deadline for returning mail-in ballots in the delayed provincial election.

Chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk said today all ballots must now be received by March 25 in order to be counted.

He had previously said all ballots must be postmarked by March 12, and before that, he had said ballots must be returned by March 5, which was an extension of the original March 1 deadline.

Chaulk says he issued another deadline because of concerns about weather and transportation disruptions to mail services.

On Feb. 12, he cancelled all in-person voting in the provincial election -- a day before it was originally scheduled -- because authorities imposed lockdown measures across the province to stop a COVID-19 outbreak.

A spokeswoman for his office said ballot counting began on Saturday and her rough estimates of mail-in ballot requests indicate the counting could go on into April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2021.