Changes Will Modernize Provincial Elections
Government is making it easier for Nova Scotians to vote for their Member of the Legislature and better support those who wish to serve their communities and fellow citizens by running for office.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey, introduced over 40 changes to modernize the Elections Act today, Feb. 21, which will improve voting access for families, provide greater clarity for voters and candidates, reduce the risk of human error in vote counting and help Elections Nova Scotia streamline the running of elections.
“These changes will make voting easier for Nova Scotians, including those who serve in uniform,” said Mr. Furey. “Our military members make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our democracy. We want to make it easier for them to exercise their democratic right to vote. We are also reducing barriers to run for provincial office, especially for women and others who are primary caregivers in their families. Public service is foundational to our democracy, and candidates and their families make sacrifices. My hope is more Nova Scotians will feel better supported to consider serving their communities by running for provincial office.”
Proposed changes will support the participation of more Nova Scotians to seek elected office by reimbursing candidates for additional family and accessibility related expenses incurred during the election. This funding will support greater accessibility for candidates with a disability and assist them with additional expenses for child care, spousal care, eldercare or care for a person with a disability regularly supported by the them.
Voting will be modernized. The change will give Elections Nova Scotia the option to provide internet voting to military members deployed outside of Nova Scotia and the ability to offer electronic ballots during early voting inside the province.
Other changes include:
- making it optional for voters to provide their gender
- giving Elections Nova Scotia the option to remove the requirement for two witnesses to be present prior to counting ballots as long as two election officials are present
- allowing tax receipts for contributions to registered candidates once the election writ is issued, rather than when their nomination is approved
- extending the right to vote to candidates and their spouses who live outside the district of a byelection
- simplifying the rules around location of campaign offices and campaign signage in proximity to polling locations
- requiring a candidate to provide rationale for requesting a judicial recount
These changes are based on recommendations made by the chief electoral officer and Elections Nova Scotia to improve the administration of elections.
I’m pleased that government has decided to act on my recommendations, which were supported by the members of the election commission, to modernize the Elections Act. I look forward to incorporating changes put forward in this bill as we prepare for the 41st general election.
Richard Temporale, chief electoral office, Elections Nova Scotia
- changes were made last fall to the House of Assembly Act to reinstate the constituencies of Argyle, Clare, Richmond and Preston. The changes will increase the number of provincial electoral districts from 51 to 55 during the next provincial general election
- changes were made last fall to the House of Assembly Act to introduce digital electoral boundaries which will make it easier and more convenient for Nova Scotians to find information related to electoral ridings
New recommended digital electoral boundaries may be viewed by visiting: https://electionsns.maps.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingSwipe/index.html?appid=feb5c89f745d47fb9b6b7903d64c2369#
Changes to Legislation Will Redraw Electoral Boundaries: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20191009005