Elections Nova Scotia

FAQs

Voter FAQ

 

Candidates and Parties FAQ

 

Political Contributions FAQ

 

Public Funding FAQ

 

Nova Scotia Election Information

 

General FAQ

 

 

 Q. How does an election start?

A. An election starts when the government passes a special Order in Council. This Order fixes the date of the writ and the date of the election. There is a minimum of 30 days before the actual election will happen.

Both dates are significant. Canadian citizens who wish to vote in the election must have lived in Nova Scotia for at least six months before the date of the writ. They must also be at least 18 years old on election day.

After the Order is passed, the Chief Electoral Officer issues the actual writ and sends it to the Returning Officers. Within five days of the date of the writ, each Returning Officer must then issue a proclamation and post it in the Returning Office. For general elections, the proclamation will also be posted in every newspaper in the province. In the case of a by-election, it will run only in the newspapers in that electoral district.

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 Q. How can I get a map of an electoral district or polling division? How much does it cost?

A. Elections Nova Scotia has placed a pdf of each electoral district map on the website under "Resources" and distributes a series of hard copy maps, including: 2012 Provincial Electoral District of Nova Scotia map; the most recent general election results map; and individual Electoral District maps with detailed polling division boundaries. All maps can be printed in colour or black and white for the cost of $20.28 (CAD) plus taxes and shipping.

Street Address:
7037 Mumford Road, Suite 6
Halifax, NS

Mailing Address:
PO Box 2246
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8

Telephone: 902-424-8584
Toll Free: 1-800-565-1504

TTY: 902-424-7475
Toll Free TTY: 1-866-774-7074

Fax: 902-424-6622
Email: elections@gov.ns.ca

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 Q. How can I work in the next election? What are the positions and the pay?

A. Thank you for wanting to be a part of our democratic process!

If you want to work in any of the positions described below you can contact a local political party and let them know you are interested in being considered or complete the employment application.

Green Party of Nova Scotia
Website: www.greenparty.ns.ca

Nova Scotia Liberal Party
Website: www.liberal.ns.ca

Nova Scotia New Democratic Party
Website: www.ns.ndp.ca

The Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia
Website: www.pcparty.ns.ca

Although returning officers actually appoint election workers, they typically try to recruit workers for election day and advance polls from lists supplied by the political parties. For example, the political party whose candidate received the most votes at the last election in a particular electoral district would provide names for deputy returning officers at polling stations in that district and the party whose candidate came second would suggest names for poll clerks.

Below are the positions that may be available during an election. Election worker rates of pay listed below have been updated under Section 6 of the Tariff of Fees & Expenses Regulations effective October 9, 2012. The rate of compensation is based on the Nova Scotia minimum wage, which is $10.30 at the time of writing. Updated rates are published periodically on the following website:

http://www.gov.ns.ca/lae/employmentrights/minimumwage.asp

Deputy Returning Officer (DRO)
The Returning Officer will select a DRO for each polling station from a list of names supplied by the candidate of the political party that finished first in the last election (or by-election). 
Rate of pay: Minimum wage plus $5.00 per hour

Poll Clerk
The Returning Officer will select a Poll Clerk for each polling station from a list of names supplied by the candidate of the political party that finished second in the last election (or by-election). 
Rate of pay: Minimum wage plus $5.00 per hour

Enumerators
The Returning Officer will select a pair of Enumerators for each polling division in which enumeration is to occur from a list of names supplied by the political parties whose candidates came first and second in the last election (or by-election).
Rate of pay: Minimum wage plus $5.00 per hour

Write-in-Ballot Coordinator
The Returning Officer will select a Write-in-Ballot Coordinator from a list of names supplied by the political parties whose candidates came in first in the last election (or by-election).
Rate of pay: Minimum wage plus $10.00 per hour

Assistant Write-in-Ballot Coordinator
The Returning Officer will select an Assistant Write-in-Ballot Coordinator from a list of names supplied by the political parties whose candidates came in second in the last election (or by-election).
Rate of pay: Minimum wage plus $5.00 per hour

If the Returning Officer is not provided with sufficient qualified individuals by the parties or candidates for these positions, he or she will recruit directly. Contact your local Returning Officer (find your returning officer ) about these or other positions available.

Other positions possibly available are:

Revision Assistant
Presiding Officer
Deputy Presiding Officer
Supervising Deputy Presiding Officer
Ballot Box Courier
Information Officer
Constable
Election Officer afed 16-18 years of age

 

 Q. How can I check to see if I am on the List of Electors?

A. Between elections, you can check to see if you are on the List or whether your information is accurate by contacting Elections Nova Scotia at 424-8584 or 1-800-565-1504; TTY 902-424-7475 or 1-866-774-7074. You will be asked to provide personal information, such as your date of birth, in order for Elections Nova Scotia to determine whether you are the elector wishing to check his/her information. For privacy reasons you can only check your own information.

During an election, you can see if you are on the List or whether your information is accurate by contacting your local Returning Officer.(find your returning officer) You will be asked to provide personal information, such as your date of birth, in order for the Returning Officer to determine whether you are the elector wishing to check his/her information. Elections Nova Scotia also has a line for those who are deaf or hard of hearing TTY 902-424-7475 or 1-866-774-7074.

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 Q. I want to vote in the next election. Can I?

A. As long as you are a Canadian citizen who will be at least 18 years old on election day and have lived in Nova Scotia for at least six months before the date of the writ, you can vote.

If you are a Nova Scotia student attending an educational institution, you can vote either in your ordinary residence polling division or at the polling division associated with your residence while going to school. Get more details here: Student Voting.

Please contact your local Returning Officer (find your returning officer) for more information.

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 Q. Can British subjects vote?

A. British subjects are not entitled to vote in Nova Scotia. To vote in Nova Scotia, you must be a Canadian citizen.

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 Q. Who is allowed to be present in a polling station during an election?

A. These are the people allowed in the polling station during an election:

  • Supervising Deputy Returning Officer
    • Deputy Returning Officer
    • Poll Clerk
    • Elector (voter)
    • Candidates
    • Returning Officer and Election Clerk
    • Two agents for each candidate or one elector representing a candidate
    • Official Agent of a candidate
    • Constable
    • Any person required to comply with the Elections Act.
  • Any person or group for educational purposes if permitted in writing by the Chief Electoral Officer

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Q. I’m a student living at university. Where do I vote?

A. See the section Student Voting.

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Q. How long does the election period last?

A. Not less than 30 days from the date of the writ.

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Q. Who is my Returning Officer?

A. Returning Officer’s information is posted on our website only after an election has been called. See the Electoral District Finder for more information.

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Q. I won’t be here for election day. Can I still vote?

A. Yes. You can vote at the Returning Office PollAdvance Poll, or by Write-in Ballot.

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Q. I am living in a women’s shelter and don’t want my location to be known. How can I vote?

A. We certainly respect your circumstances. You can still vote on election day. You will have to complete a Certificate to Vote. You can also vote at any Returning OfficeAdvance Poll , or by Write-in Ballot.

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Q. Where do I vote?

A. Check your Voter Information Card, which you should receive in the mail about two weeks after an election is called. If you have not received one, contact your local Returning Officer (find your returning officer).

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Q. Is my vote secret?

A. Yes.

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Q. Can anyone come behind the voting screen with me?

A. Yes. If you require assistance casting your vote you can have someone come behind the screen with you. Also, parents may bring a child with them  to have them become familiar with the process.

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Q. Can homeless people vote?

A. Yes. Click here for more information.

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Q. Can prisoners vote?

A. Yes. They must vote by write-in ballot. See Incarcerated Voters.

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Q. I was told my employer has to give me three hours off to vote. Is that true?

A. Yes and no. You are entitled to have three consecutive hours available to vote while the polls are open on election day, but the time you take must respect your employer’s needs. For further information, see discussion of time off to vote.

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Q. Is there any leeway in voting after 8:00pm on election day?

A. The Deputy Returning Officer at the polling station will take note of how many people are still waiting to vote at 8:00pm. The polls may stay open until these people have voted. Anyone arriving after 8:00pm cannot vote.

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Q. What is a mobile polling station?

A. If required, a separate polling division is created for one or more long-term care facilities. A Returning Officer can establish a mobile polling station which is like a “traveling polling station” which goes to each facility for no less than 3 hours to allow voting by electors at the facilities.

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Candidates and Parties FAQ

 

Q. Can a candidate have more than one official agent?

A. No. Section 168(2) of the Elections Act contemplates more than one official agent for a party but no equivalent provision is in the Elections Act for candidates. Section 170 - 171 of the Act speaks in terms of one person having this responsibility.

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Q. What is a registered party?

A. A registered party is a political party which has been registered by the Chief Electoral Officer under section 180 of the Elections Act.

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Q. How many registered political parties are there in Nova Scotia?

A. There are 4 registered political parties in Nova Scotia:

Green Party of Nova Scotia
Website: www.greenparty.ns.ca

Nova Scotia Liberal Party
Website: www.liberal.ns.ca

Nova Scotia New Democratic Party
Website: www.ns.ndp.ca

The Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia
Website: www.pcparty.ns.ca

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Political Contributions FAQ

 

Q. May I make a donation to a political party in Nova Scotia?

A. Yes, an individual resident in Nova Scotia may make a political contribution to a party, a candidate or an electoral district association. Organizations (corporations, partnerships, unions, etc.) may not.

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Q. Is there a limit on the amount I can contribute?

A. Yes, an individual can contribute a maximum of $5,000 annually to each registered party, its candidates or its electoral district associations.

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Q. Can corporations, partnerships and trade unions make political contributions?

A. No, only an individual resident in Nova Scotia can make political contributions.

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Q. Why is there a limit on contributions I can make when none previously existed?

A. In 2007, public funding for registered political parties was introduced. At the same time a limit on contributions and rules about who can contribute were established.

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Q. Can a political contribution be made in cash?

A. Yes, however cash contributions are restricted to a maximum of $100.

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Q. Who may accept a political contribution?

A. Only the official agent of the recognized party, candidate or electoral district association may accept a political contribution.

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Q. Can I loan money to a recognized party, candidate or electoral district?

A. Yes, however you need to be aware of a number of rules regarding loans. The most important is that a loan that is not repaid is deemed to be a political contribution and subject to the $5,000 annual contribution limit.

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Q. What if I contribute more than $5,000 annually?

A. The law makes it your responsibility not to contribute more than allowed. The law prohibits registered political parties, candidates or electoral district associations from accepting contributions that exceed the limits.

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Q. Where do I find the law on political contributions?

A. The law regarding political contributions is in the Elections Act. Also refer to a guideline on the contributions rules prepared by the Chief Electoral Officer.

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Public Funding FAQ

 

Q. Do political parties receive public funding in Nova Scotia?

A. Yes, registered parties do.

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Q. What levels of public funding do political parties receive?

A. The funding is based on a formula contained in the Elections Act. Elections Nova Scotia publishes payments made to date.

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Nova Scotia Election Information

 

Q. Does Nova Scotia have fixed election dates?

A. No. The government can call an election at any time by passing an Order in Council calling an election. Election day is always on a Tuesday, not less than 30 days from the date of the writ.

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Q. What is the maximum time a government can hold office?

A. The House of Assembly can continue for five years with an extra 40 days after the issuing of the writs for a general election.

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Q. How many Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are there in Nova Scotia?

A. There are 52 elected MLAs in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; one from each electoral district. The next Provincial General election will be held in 51 electoral districts as determined by the 2 012 Report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission.

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Q. What is an Electoral District?

A. An electoral district, often called a riding or constituency, is a geographical area whose residents are represented by one member in the House of Assembly. Electoral district boundaries are set out in the House of Assembly Act.

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Q. Who is my MLA?

A. Find out using the Electoral District Finder.

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Q. Is my MLA still my MLA during an election?

A. Technically, no. The passing of the Order in Council calling the general election dissolves the House of Assembly. If there is no House, there can be no members. The Executive Council (Cabinet) remains intact.

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General FAQ

 

Q. What is the difference between a by-election and an election?

A. A by-election is held in just one particular electoral district to fill a vacancy in the House of Assembly because a member has resigned, been expelled, or died. An election, also called a general election, is held in all electoral districts at the same time.

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Q. Why do we have a List of Electors?

A. Qualified electors in Nova Scotia are entitled to one vote each. By maintaining a List of Electors we can ensure votes are being cast fairly. It also helps us prepare statistics that tell how many eligible Nova Scotians are voting. And the List speeds up and simplifies the voting process for voters at the polls.

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Q. How is the List of Electors maintained?

A. We update it using many different sources. On an ongoing basis, Elections Nova Scotia selectively uses data from a number of sources including the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Vital Statistics, the Nova Scotia Civic Address File, Elections Canada, municipal elections and field work done by Returning Officers and Elections Nova Scotia staff. Many electors contact our office directly to be registered on the List. During enumeration we go physically from door-to-door to update the List.

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Q. Is my information on the List of Electors kept private?

A. Yes. Personal information on the List of Electors is only used for election purposes.

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Q. When was the last general election in Nova Scotia? How many have there been?

A. Nova Scotia has had 38 general elections. The most recent was on June 9, 2009.

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Q. Can politicians advertise when no election has been called?

A. Yes. The Elections Act does not prohibit advertising outside an election period. However, all forms of advertising are subject to the rule that every advertisement relating to an election that promotes or opposes any candidate or recognized party shall bear the words "authorized by the official agent for [name of candidate or recognized party]" and must indicate on whose behalf the advertisement was published.

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Q. Are there any rules governing the political activities of federal public service employees?

A. The Public Service Employment Act, provides a new regime for governing the political activities of federal public servants. The Act recognizes the need to balance the principle of an impartial federal public service with the rights of public service employees to engage in political activities. For more information, please visit: http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/plac-acpl/index-eng.htm or contact the Public Service Commission of Canada's Political Activities Directorate at 1-866-707-7152, by facsimile at 613-995-7699 or by email at pa-ap@psc-cfp.gc.ca

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Q. Are there any rules governing the political activities of provincial public service employees?

A. Please refer to the Political Activity Rights of Nova Scotia Government Employees issued by the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission.

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