October 6, 2013 2:47 pm
Updated: October 7, 2013 10:06 am

Photos of marked ballots referred to RCMP, Elections Nova Scotia says

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HALIFAX – A simple act of sharing a political opinion online may land three Nova Scotia voters in hot water.

Three online photos, allegedly taken during advance polls, show marked ballots, said Elections Nova Scotia. The agency said it referred the cases to the RCMP and that bringing a recording device to a poll violates the Elections Act.

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Political commentator Parker Donham tweeted a close-up photo of his marked ballot on Saturday afternoon. It indicates his support for the Progressive Conservative candidate for Victoria-The Lakes, Keith Bain. Donham said when he visited the returning office in George’s River, he snapped a picture of the marked ballot with his smartphone.

“I said, you know what? I want to be able to show people I voted for him,” Donham said. “I’m going to take a picture of my ballot. That was all. I did not intend to break the law.”

Elections Nova Scotia officials explained the law is clear in cases like this.

“It’s an offense to use a camera or recording device in a polling place,” said Dana Doiron, a spokesperson for the agency.

“We have signs up in the polls to remind people of that and we have information officers. If they see someone with a phone or camera they ask them to put them away.”

If it is proven that Donham violated the Elections Act, he said he will pay the consequences. While it’s unlikely he would face the harshest penalty, the law says he could be fined up to $5,000.

Tony Tracey is another individual who allegedly photographed his ballot. Tracey, the president of the Halifax-Dartmouth and District Labour Council, showed he voted for the New Democratic candidate in his riding.

The third person involved in the photo controversy has not yet been identified.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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