Advance Poll – electors who might be away on election day can vote at the advance poll, which is held on the Friday and Saturday just before the election day.
Agent – sometimes called a scrutineer, this person represents a candidate at the polling station and observes the voting and the counting of ballots.
By-Election – an election held in a single electoral district to fill a vacancy in the House of Assembly.
Candidate – a person who is running to be elected in an electoral district. Candidates can be independent or represent a recognized political party.
Chief Electoral Officer – this is the head person at Elections Nova Scotia. The Chief Electoral Officer has the responsibility for ensuring all elections are fair and impartial and are conducted in accordance with the various acts that regulate elections.
Contributions – persons ordinarily resident in Nova Scotia and eligible corporations, partnerships and trade unions may donate (contribute) a maximum of $5,000 annually to a recognized party and all candidates and electoral district associations of that recognized party.
Deputy Returning Officer – the Returning Officer for each electoral district will appoint a Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) to administer the Returning Officer’s duties at the Advance Poll or each polling station on election day.
Elector – someone who is eligible to vote.
Electoral District – Nova Scotia is divided into 52 electoral districts, sometimes also called constituencies.
List of Electors – also called the voters list. This is a list of all those people who are qualified to vote and have registered to vote in an electoral district. The List is sorted by polling division.
Enumeration – the process of preparing or updating the List of Electors for an upcoming election. This process includes going door-to-door to ensure every person eligible to vote is on the List.
MLA – Member of the Legislative Assembly. A person elected in his or her electoral district to a seat in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
Nomination Paper – a document that must be filed with the Returning Officer before a person can run as a candidate in an election. The deadline for filing is 2:00pm on the 14th day before election day.
Official Addition – this count of the ballots is performed by the Returning Officer in the presence of the Election Clerk, and the candidates or their agents. After this count, the Returning Officer declares which candidate is elected.
Order in Council – the passing of this order starts the election process.
Ordinary Residence – this is where you live. This address will determine your electoral district and polling station where you vote. Also known as your Civic Address.
Plebiscite – a vote on one specific issue or question.
Political Contributions – see Contributions.
Polling Division – Electoral districts are subdivided into polling divisions. Each polling division usually includes 250-450 electors.
Polling Station – these are the sites where the ballot boxes are set up so you can cast your vote.
Preliminary Count – this is the first count taken of the ballots as soon as the polls close. The count is performed by the Deputy Returning Officer in front of those persons entitled to witness the count. The results are then telephoned to the Returning Officer. These results are considered unofficial until the Official Addition.
Premier – the leader of the recognized political party that wins the most seats in a general election.
Reimbursement – candidates who receive a minimum of 10 per cent of the vote are eligible for partial reimbursement of their election expenses.
Returning Officer – Cabinet appoints one Returning Officer for each of the 52 electoral districts in Nova Scotia. The Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of elections in their electoral district. Under urgent circumstances, the Chief Electoral Officer can also appoint Returning Officers.
Special Polls – these allow people who cannot vote at the advance poll or on ordinary polling day the chance to cast their vote. Special polls are open from the 12th to 6th day before election day. (Closed on Sunday)
Spoiled Ballot – a ballot must be marked in a certain way to count in Nova Scotia. Ballots that have an X, check mark, or line beside more than one candidate, are not clear as to which candidate has been chosen, or are defaced in any other way are considered spoiled and are not counted.
Voter – an elector who has voted.
Voter Information Card – the card sent to each elector on the List of Electors explaining where to vote and giving information on voting opportunities. Formerly known as the Notice of Confirmation.
Writ – a writ is a written command in the name of the government. When referring to elections, the writ means the command to hold an election. The date of the writ is the date the election was called.
Write-in Ballot – this blank ballot allows you to cast your vote if you aren’t able to vote in person at the Special Poll, Advance Poll, or on election day because you are ill, infirm, away, or for some other reason. A Write-in Ballot can be completed in the returning office, mailed in or returned in person or by your agent. You must apply to vote by Write-in Ballot and, once you have done so, you must complete your vote using this ballot.