Elections Nova Scotia has released a report that it hopes will streamline the election process.
Written by the province’s Chief Electoral Officer, Richard Temporale, the report outlines 23 recommended changes to the province’s election legislation.
Chief among the recommendations is that the government introduce some way to clear up voter confusion around the withdrawal of candidates after nominations close.
During last spring’s provincial election campaign that happened in the case of three candidates — one from each party.
Dartmouth East NDP candidate Bill McEwen and Pictou East Liberal candidate Matt MacKnight dropped out of the running after controversial online comments and postings were found online.
Jad Crnogorac, a candidate in Dartmouth South, was dropped by the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives after controversial posts were discovered on her social media accounts. She continued her campaign as an independent candidate and ultimately lost.
“The Elections Act currently doesn’t offer solutions to these circumstances, leaving local electors uninformed of the status of the affected candidate,” Temporale wrote in a news release.
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He recommends that a legislated process be put in place to address the situation, with ballots being updated when possible or informing voters in electoral districts if a candidate has withdrawn.
As a possible solution, Temporale uses the posting of any updated party endorsements or candidate withdrawal at polling locations.
The report also recommends the introduction of e-voting for out-of-province military members, and flexibility to allow people to opt out of reporting their sex when registering to vote.
The report says the province has made changes in how gender identity is recorded in government documents such as driver’s licences, and as a result the idea that sex be recorded for voter’s lists should be changed from mandatory to optional.
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Temporale also recommends an additional method for how an application for a recount can be considered, allowing a court to determine whether there are grounds to justify a recount. It would only come into effect when the number of votes between candidates are 10 or more. If the number of votes are fewer than 10, an automatic recount is already triggered.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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