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Governing Tories in P.E.I. could secure a slim majority with byelection win

Global News

Voting in a crucial provincial byelection is underway today in Prince Edward Island.

If the governing Progressive Conservatives win the vote tonight, their minority government will be transformed into a slim majority.

The Tories under Premier Dennis King currently have 13 seats in the 27-seat legislature.

The Greens under Peter Bevan-Baker have eight seats, and the Liberals have five.

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King has said his government would continue to take a collaborative approach if the Tories form a majority.

The seat became vacant when Liberal Robert Mitchell stepped down last month after representing the district of Charlottetown-Winsloe for 13 years.

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In the 2019 general election, the Tory candidate finished third with 26 per cent of the votes.

Following three days of advance voting for the byelection, 39.8 per cent of registered voters have already cast a ballot, and an additional 5.6 per cent voted by mail.

Voters are being asked to wear a mask when voting and comply with physical distancing and capacity limit protocols.

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Each polling station features election officials wearing personal protective equipment, protective plastic barriers and hand-sanitizing stations.

As well, voters are being asked to show their identification without handing it to election officials, and every voter will be issued a new pencil with their ballot.

The candidates are Liberal Zac Murphy, Green party candidate Chris van Ouwerkerk, Progressive Conservative Zack Bell and New Democrat Lynne Thiele.

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The polls will remain open until 7 p.m. at the  Community Baptist Church on Sherwood Road.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020.