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N.S. election: Advance polls begin, online write-in ballot application deadline looms

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Advance polls for early voting for the Nova Scotia election began Saturday morning, according to Elections Nova Scotia.

Early voting is available from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. In a release, Elections Nova Scotia said advance polls will run until Saturday, Aug. 14, though it will be closed on Sunday, Aug. 8.

The release said early voting is also available from Monday to Saturday at the returning offices in the 55 electoral districts.

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“Community polls are also open across the province and will be available until Saturday August 14. Voting is closed on Sundays,” the release said.

“There will be extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 12 and Friday, August 13 for early voting at all returning offices and early voting locations.”

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People can vote anywhere in Nova Scotia — not just their electoral district — during the early voting period until Aug. 14. On Aug. 16, people can still vote early at the returning office in their electoral district.

“On election day, Tuesday, August 17, voters may vote at their assigned voting location or the returning office in their electoral district,” it said. Voting will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.

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Information about where people can go to cast their ballots is available on the Elections Nova Scotia website.

As of Friday, 36,693 votes have been cast at the returning office continuous polls and 5,567 votes had been cast at community polls across the province which is well above advance voting activity in the previous election. At this point during the 2017 contest, those numbers were 14,687 and 219, respectively.

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Online write-in ballot applications

Elections Nova Scotia also said the deadline to apply for a write-in ballot using their online application tool or by mail is Saturday, Aug. 7 at 6 p.m.

However, people can still apply for a write-in ballot in person or by agent until 6 p.m. on Aug. 14, for those who are out-of-district, and until 3 p.m. on Aug. 17 for those within the district.

All write-in ballot kits need to be returned before 8 p.m. on Aug. 17 — election day — and voters are asked to allow adequate time for their write-in ballot to be returned.

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Once the application is approved, Elections Nova Scotia will send a write-in ballot kit and instructions to the voter.

“Voters can also ask someone they trust who is at least 18 years old to act as their agent to help them apply for and return their write-in ballot,” the release said.

“Voters can call their returning office if they need assistance with the write-in ballot process. Returning Officers can even make arrangements for a write-in ballot team to visit voters at home if necessary.”

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According to Elections Nova Scotia, 5,603 applications for write-in ballots had been processed as of Friday. At the same point in the 2017 election, 1,316 votes had been cast by write-in ballot.

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