PICTOU – Coming up with excuses as to why you can’t vote has gotten more difficult this provincial election.
Elections Nova Scotia has implemented in-home voting this provincial election that will allow voters to cast their votes from the comfort of their homes.
“If someone can’t get out to vote and can’t get out on election day, there is a write-in ballot team that will come to their home,” said Lila Dort of Pictou West Elections Nova Scotia returning office.
She said the process involves a person calling into the returning office in their district and providing their name, civic address and phone number. Once Elections Nova Scotia staff have verified the information and a collection of names is taken for the service, a team will contact the voters to set up a time to visit their home.
The team will visit the home with a kit that will not only explain the process, but also include a ballot that the voter can mark, place in an envelope and seal before it is handed back to the Elections Nova Scotia team. That ballot is placed in a portable ballot box and transported back to the returning office to a larger box.”
“Everything is done in secrecy. There the ballot is screened so no one knows what you are writing and the envelope is sealed with the ballot in and not opened until election night,” said Pictou West returning officer Josephine MacDonald.
MacDonald said the process is open to all eligible voters and is a convenient way for people in seniors homes to vote from their residence rather than travelling to polling stations.
“If there is enough interest generated by a seniors home, we can come in with a team for a few hours and get everyone done,” she said.
She said voting this way is not limited to the people who called for the service. For example, MacDonald said, if a neighbour dropped by your home while the Elections Nova Scotia Team was going over the process, that person could also do their own ballot at the same time.
“There is no excuse not to vote,” said MacDonald. “They don’t have to go anywhere.”
In addition to the in-home voting, people can also cast a ballot at a returning office in their district between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. until Oct. 3.
After this advance polls will be held on October 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters cards that are being mailed to each eligible voter in the province will have information about advance polls and election day polls.
People who live out of their district can also vote through a mail-in ballot. Applications are available online for this service, but MacDonald says people must be aware of the tight time constraints if they are using this form of voting.
For example, a person must allow time for the application to be processed by the returning office, a kit to be assembled and sent to the voter. The recipient must then fill out the ballot and mail it back to the returning office.
All applications for out-of-district voting must be received by Sept. 28 to allow time for ballots to be counted on election day.
Anyone with more questions about voting procedures can find more information at www.electionnovascotia.ca