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‘Voting is extremely important to us’: Advance polls open in New Brunswick

A short lineup of people gathered prior to advance polling opening in Moncton at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Callum Smith / Global News

New Brunswickers looking to cast their ballots for the upcoming municipal election have the chance to do just that.

With the exception of the Edmundston region, advance polls opened across the province Saturday. But if you missed out, Monday is another day of advance polling.

People in the previously locked-down region of Zone 4, the Edmundston region, will cast ballots May 25.

That is also when people across the province will learn the results of their vote for municipal candidates, regional health authority board members and district education councils.

“I do understand that people may be frustrated by the fact that they’ll have to wait a couple extra weeks for the results,” says Kim Poffenroth, New Brunswick’s chief electoral officer. “But it is best practice in election management not to release results while people can still vote for a contest.”

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Poffenroth is encouraging people to take advantage of all early voting opportunities to help “flatten the election curve” during New Brunswick’s second election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you can’t attend Monday’s final advance polling day, you can still vote at any returning office Monday through Saturday until May 10.

Voting this time around is pretty similar to the provincial election in September, Poffenroth says, with masks, physical distancing, sanitizing and capacity limits.

It was a pretty straightforward process for voters who spoke to Global News after casting their ballots.

“It’s very easy and not complicated at all,” says voter Ed Moore. “You go in and [you’re asked] COVID questions, sanitize, go in and verify your identity with your voter slip.”

“It’s pretty simple,” says Darrell McDuff. “You just go to each station, they have somebody at every station just to tell you what you have to do and keep your six feet apart and that’s about it.”

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Read more: Local government election results in New Brunswick likely to be delayed provincewide

But like all elections, it’s an important chance for people to have a say in their elected officials.

“Voting is extremely important to us,” says Peter Cormier beside his wife Suzanne. “It’s the only thing that the ‘little guy’ has, and if we lose it, we really find out why so many people want to get into a democratic society.”

More than 19,000 New Brunswickers cast advance poll ballots as of 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

Elections New Brunswick says 43 per cent of the population voted during the last municipal election in 2016.

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