Polls are now closed for the 41st Nova Scotia election.
Global News is providing live coverage of the results as they come in. You can tune into the election night special here.
As of 9 p.m., the Progressive Conservatives had a strong early lead, either leading or having been elected in 27 districts. Both the Liberals and NDP were leading in 11 districts. Independent candidate Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin is leading in Cumberland North.
These are still early results and things could shake out differently over the course of the night.
Each party is looking for 28 seats — the number needed for a majority government.
Many people opted to vote early for this election. According to Elections Nova Scotia, as of Aug. 14, 176,793 early votes have already been cast by people using write-in ballots, returning office continuous polls, community polls and advance polls.
During the early voting period in the 2017 election, 118,623 early votes were cast.
Result could be late
It’s possible that Nova Scotians will not know the result of the election until Wednesday.
“(The chief electoral officer) has indicated he may need to end the vote count at midnight if it looks like it could go extremely late due to worker fatigue,” said Elections Nova Scotia spokesperson Naomi Shelton in a release.
“If this occurs, ENS will communicate as soon as possible. Counting and live feed results would resume at 10 a.m. the next day.”
Some concerns have been raised about what voter turnout will look like today. In the 2017 election, voter turnout fell to just 53 per cent — an all-time low.
The campaign so far
The incumbent Liberals are running candidates in all 55 districts, as are the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP. The Green Party of Nova Scotia is running 43 candidates and the Atlantica Party is running 15. Four people are running as Independents.
At dissolution, the Liberals had 24 seats in the legislature while the Progressive Conservatives had 17 seats and the NDP had five. There were two vacant seats and three Independents.
Liberal leader Iain Rankin, seeking a third term for his party, has largely kept his campaign’s focus on recovery post-COVID-19.
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston has been campaigning on improving health care in the province, while NDP leader Gary Burrill has been campaigning on social issues like rent control and a higher minimum wage.
The summer campaign has been low-key, for the most part, though there was the usual political squabbling between opponents and at least one controversy that has followed the Liberal leader throughout the campaign.
Rankin came under fire early on after his party allegedly ousted Robyn Ingraham, the former candidate for Dartmouth South, for posting boudoir photos online. He has refused to comment further on his party’s handling of the situation, saying he has reached out to Ingraham multiple times but hasn’t heard back.
While the Liberals entered the race with a lead, political experts have said this race could be tighter than expected. A recent Narrative Research poll suggests the Liberals are losing support, but it has a large margin of error due to its sample size.
The three main party leaders have spent the last days of the campaign largely focused on groundwork and door-knocking, trying to win over competitive ridings.