Elections Nova Scotia Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Expand All
41st Provincial General Election
When is election day?
Election day for the 41st provincial general election in Nova Scotia is Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
Who is eligible to vote in the 41st provincial general election?
to be eligible to vote in the 41st provincial general election, you must be a Canadian citizen who is 18 years or older on election day (August 17, 2021) and have lived in Nova Scotia for the six months or more before the day the election was called (since January 17, 2021).
How does an election start?
A general election starts when the Premier advises the Lieutenant Governor that he or she wishes for the Legislature to be dissolved. The Lieutenant Governor considers the request and, if it is approved, an Order in Council is passed and a Proclamation is issued that 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. The proclamation will also be posted publically.
How can I get a map of an electoral district or polling division? How much does it cost?
Elections Nova Scotia has a variety of map products available on this website in the under resource section and can provide hard copy maps upon request. All maps can be printed in colour or black and white for the cost of $20.40 (CAD) plus taxes and shipping.
Toll Free: 1-800-565-1504
Toll Free TTY: 1-866-774-7074
How can I work in the next election? What are the positions and the pay?
Thank you for wanting to be a part of our democratic process!
If you would like to work during this general election period, read on! If you want to work in any of the positions described below, you can contact your local returning officeor a local political party and let them know you are interested in being considered, or you check out our Employment listings. (http://www.electionsnovascotia.ca/employment).
Atlantica Party Association of Nova Scotia
Green Party of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Liberal Party
Nova Scotia New Democratic Party
The Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia
Election Worker Positions
Listed below are the positions that may be available during an election. Many of the positions are first made available to the people named by the candidates representing the parties that finished first or second in the electoral district in the previous general election. However, if the Returning Officer(RO) is not provided with sufficient qualified individuals, the RO will recruit directly. Contact your local Returning Officer about these or other positions available.
Enumerators work with a partner to carry out enumeration. Enumeration is the process of updating the List of Electors for the election. Enumerators go door to door to collect registration information for all individuals eligible to vote living at each civic address. The number of hours worked by each pair of enumerators is dependent on the area and the number of houses to be visited.
The write-in ballot coordinator organizes efforts to provide voting opportunities to electors who may not be able to vote at a polling location for a number of reasons. The WIB Coordinator works with an Assistant WIB Coordinator as a team when visiting electors at their homes. Duties include scheduling, visiting electors in their home or in residential care centers with write-in ballot kits and ensuring a smooth and confidential voting process for each elector. Hours vary depending on the district in which you are working and the number of electors requiring write-in ballots for voting.
Assistant Write-in-Ballot Coordinator
The assistant to the write-in ballot coordinator assists the WIB Coordinator with coordinating visits to residential care centers as well to the homes of individual electors who may not be able to travel to a polling location. Your focus will be ensuring that electors who otherwise would not be able to vote are given the opportunity to cast a vote using a write-in ballot. Hours will vary depending on the district in which they are working and the number of electors requiring write-in ballots for voting.
Deputy Returning Officer (DRO)
A Deputy Returning Officer also known as a DRO has very specific and important duties. These include providing ballots to electors and witnessing the ballots being deposited into the ballot box. The DRO alone is responsible for the ballots and the voting procedure. On election day, the DRO can expect to work an average of 13 hours.
The poll clerk is likely the first voting official an elector will meet when they arrive to vote. Duties include greeting and ‘processing’ electors and ensuring they have the documentation required to be issued a ballot by the DRO. The Poll Clerk’s priority is to help, document and guide an elector through the check-in process to ensure a smooth-running poll. On election day, the Poll Clerk can expect to work an average of 13 hours.
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:
How can I check to see if I am on the List of Electors?
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 1-800-565-1504; or TTY 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 1-866-774-7074.
I want to vote in the next election. Can I?
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.
Can British subjects vote?
British subjects are not entitled to vote in Nova Scotia. To vote in Nova Scotia, you must be a Canadian citizen.
Who is allowed to be present in a polling station during an election?
These are the people allowed in the polling station during an election:
- Poll Supervisor
- Deputy Returning Officer
- Poll Clerk
- Elector (voter)
- Returning Officer
- Two agents for each candidate or one elector representing a candidate
- Official Agent of a candidate
- 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
I'm a student living at university. Where do I vote?
See the section Student Voting.
How long does the election period last?
Not less than 30 days and no more than 46 days from the date of the writ.
Who is my Returning Officer?
I won't be here for election day. Can I still vote?
I am living in a women's shelter and don't want my location to be known. How can I vote?
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 Office, Advance Poll , or by Write-in Ballot .
Where do I vote?
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. Or visit our online "Where Do I Vote" tool here..
Is my vote secret?
Can anyone come behind the voting screen with me?
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.
Can homeless people vote?
Yes. Click here for more information.
Can prisoners vote?
I was told my employer has to give me three hours off to vote. Is that true?
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.
Is there any leeway in voting after 8:00 pm on election day?
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.
What is a mobile polling station?
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.
Vote Safely – COVID-19 Precautions for the 41 Provincial General Election
Is it safe to go vote?
Elections Nova Scotia is taking every precaution to make voting safe for all Nova Scotians. This includes offering many different voting options, such as early voting and voting by mail using a write-in ballot. Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all voting locations.
Can I still vote in-person?
Yes. In-person voting is available at your local Returning Office after the election is called, during Advance Polls, and on Election Day. Before Election Day, you can vote at any voting location or returning office across the province. Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all voting locations.
What if I don’t feel safe voting in person?
Voters can apply to vote by mail using a write-in ballot, so that they can vote remotely. You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot or use a paper form and mail in your application. Click here for more information on how to apply for a write-in ballot.
What do I need to bring with me to vote?
Please bring your identification (with your name and civic address), your Voter Information Card (VIC) if you have received it, a mask, and a pen.
Do I need to wear a mask to vote?
Elections Nova Scotia is asking all voters to wear a mask while inside the voting location and while in line to vote.
How do I vote remotely?
Voters can apply for a write-in ballot, so that they can vote by mail. You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot or use a paper form and mail in your application. Click here for more information on how to apply for a write-in ballot.
They can ask a neighbour, family member, care giver, or friend to act as their agent to assist them to apply to vote by mail using a write-in ballot.
Voters can also make an appointment through their Returning Office for a team to visit their home and assist them with voting by write-in ballot.
What measures are you taking to protect voters at the polls?
Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all voting locations. Voters will be asked to sanitize their hands at entrances and exits, and to wear a mask when they go to vote. Election workers will also wear masks while inside the voting location, and there will be a tabletop shield between the voter and the election worker. Physical distancing will also be enforced at voting locations, and frequently used surfaces will be disinfected between every voter interaction. Voters are also asked to bring their own pen when they vote.
What does “Vote Safely” mean?
“Vote Safely” refers to Elections Nova Scotia encouraging all voters to follow the Public Health precautions that are in place at voting locations. This means wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands, practicing physical distancing, and voting early to flatten the curve or applying to vote by mail using a write-in ballot. Voters are also encouraged to bring their own pen when voting.
What will my voting location look like during COVID-19?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all election workers will be wearing masks at voting locations. Hand sanitizer will be available for voters to use when entering and exiting the voting location. There will be signage to help direct voters and to indicate where to stand to maintain physical distancing requirements. Polling stations will be also be physically distanced, as will election workers. There will be a tabletop shield between the voter and the election worker. There will also be additional election workers assigned to disinfect stations between every voter interaction. Voters are also asked to bring their own pen to use when voting.
How often will you be cleaning/disinfecting the voting location?
Polling stations and the voting screen table will be disinfected between every voter interaction, or every five minutes during periods of low usage. Other high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs will be disinfected every five minutes.
Can I still vote if I have COVID-19/symptoms?
Elections Nova Scotia encourages all Nova Scotians to consider early voting options, such as applying to vote by mail using a write-in ballot or voting at a returning office or early voting location before election day.
I have a medical exemption from wearing a mask, can I still vote?
It is recommended that Nova Scotians wear a mask when going to vote in person, however you may vote without one. If you forget your mask when you go to vote, one will be offered to you upon arrival at the voting location. If you are not able to wear a mask you may want to consider applying to vote by mail using a write-in ballot.
Will it take longer to vote during COVID-19?
Because of increased cleaning requirements at the polls, it might take longer for individuals to cast their ballot. One possible way to shorten the time it takes you to vote is to vote early during Advance Polls or at your Returning Office any time after the election has been called (excluding Sundays). Before election day, voters in Nova Scotia can vote at any returning office or early voting location in any electoral district.
How big is the risk of community spread during the election?
Elections Nova Scotia is following all Public Health guidelines to make it as safe as possible to vote. Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all voting locations.
Can I vote by mail if I’m not traveling, sick, or otherwise unable to go in person?
Yes, all voters may apply to vote by mail using a write-in ballot. You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot or use a paper form and mail in your application. Click here for more information on how to apply for a write-in ballot.
What can I do to be safe at the polls?
Wear a mask, physically distance from election workers and other voters, sanitize your hands when you enter and leave the voting location, bring your own pen, and listen for instruction from election workers onsite at your voting location.
Can I still bring my kid(s) with me when I vote?
Elections Nova Scotia encourages children to observe democracy at work by accompanying their parents when they go to vote. However, during a pandemic, leaving children with a caretaker may be the safest option to avoid exposing them to COVID-19. Elections Nova Scotia recognizes this might not be realistic for all parents/guardians, and will welcome children who go with their parents to the polls this general election.
Parents who are worried about possible exposure when going to vote may want to consider voting early at a Returning Office or Advance Poll, to avoid long lines, or avoid lines completely by applying for a write-in ballot so they can vote by mail.
My relative is in the high-risk category for COVID-19, how can they vote? Can I help them vote?
Election Day is usually the busiest voting day of the election period. Less busy voting alternatives are to vote at a Returning Office or during Advance polls in person before Election Day, or to apply to vote by mail using a write-in ballot. You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot or use a paper form and mail in your application. Click here for more information on how to apply for a write-in ballot.
Can I cast my vote online, like in the municipal election?
Elections Nova Scotia does not have the legislative authority to conduct online voting at this time. You can vote remotely by mail using a write-in ballot. Please contact your returning officer or visit the Elections Nova Scotia website for more You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot or use a paper form and mail in your application. Click here for more information on how to apply for a write-in ballot.
What measures will be in place to protect election workers?
Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all voting locations. Election workers will wear masks while inside the voting location, and there will be a tabletop shield between the voter and the election worker. Physical distancing will also be enforced at voting locations, and frequently used surfaces will be disinfected between every voter interaction. Workers will also have access to hand sanitizer at their station. Election workers will minimize hand-to-hand contact with electors by touching their documents (i.e. Voter Information Card (VIC), IDs, etc.) as little as possible.
Candidates and Parties FAQ
Can a candidate have more than one official agent?
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.
What is a registered party?
A registered party is a political party which has been registered by the Chief Electoral Officer under section 180 of the Elections Act.
How many registered political parties are there in Nova Scotia?
There are 5 registered political parties in Nova Scotia:
Atlantica Party Association of Nova Scotia
Green Party of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Liberal Party
Nova Scotia New Democratic Party
The Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia
What are the candidate and registered party spending limits and reimbursements for the 41st provincial general election?
Click here for a chart of the candidate and registered party spending limits and reimbursements for the 41st provincial general election .
Campaign Access to Multi-unit Building Policy Q&A
When can candidates and their representatives access these buildings?
After the date of the writ, but not if active voting is happening in the building in question, for example if a mobile poll is taking place there.
Will ENS get involved if a landlord or tenant obstructs a candidate or their representative from entering a multi-unit building?
ENS may work with the candidate or representative in question to contact the relevant law enforcement if the candidate/representative is kept from entering the building.
Will law enforcement get involved if a landlord or tenant obstructs a candidate or their representative from entering a multi-unit building?
The police officers with jurisdiction in the electoral district are responsible for assisting with the enforcement of the Act and may get involved if necessary.
Why are candidates and their representatives not allowed access to university and college residences and long-term care centres?
They are not allowed access to university and college residences and long-term care centres because each room is considered a bedroom rather than a front door to separate apartments. In this case, canvasing door-to-door would be an invasion of personal space.
How do candidates or their representatives get access to a multi-unit building?
The candidate or their representative must contact the landlord directly to organize access to the building. ENS and election workers are not responsible for assisting candidates and their representatives to gain access to multi-unit buildings.
What evidence will candidates and their representatives provide to landlords to prove their eligibility for entering multi-unit buildings?
The candidate or their representative can and should provide the landlord with a copy of their letter from the CEO confirming their registration with ENS, or their candidate registration form (Form 1-1). They may also present landlords with a copy of the Campaign Access to Multi-unit Buildings Policy
Candidate Electoral Support Program (CESP) Policy Q&A
What costs would be considered for eligibility by ENS under the CESP?
Eligible candidates running in a provincial election who currently pay for child, spousal and/or elder care can apply for a rebate of the reasonable incremental costs that they have as a result of campaigning during the writ period. Incremental costs are those costs that are over and above expenses they normally pay for these services.
What if I have not paid for this kind of service in the past but need this kind of help just to run a campaign? Would these costs be considered eligible for a rebate?
Yes, these costs would be considered incremental. A written explanation and attestation would be required to be submitted with the claim.
Do I need to qualify for election cost reimbursement to make a claim under the CESP?
Yes, all candidates who are eligible for election expense reimbursement are also eligible for the CESP during the election period. The current reimbursement requirement under the Act that a candidate must receive no less than 10% of the valid votes cast applies to expenses covered under CESP.
Are these costs counted toward my maximum spending limits or reimbursement limits?
Yes, these costs would be categorized separately in the election expense and will count toward the maximum permitted spending or reimbursable limits.
Will CESP reimbursements be made public?
Yes, all costs incurred for a by-election or general election are published following the event. Candidate costs are reported separately in the publication and will include amounts paid under the CESP. Details are not disclosed publicly but are available for review at Elections Nova Scotia to any member of the public.
How are incremental costs determined?
The eligible candidate would provide documentation of costs incurred for a reasonable period prior to the writ, then that weekly average would be used as the baseline for the calculation. Total costs incurred during the election with supporting documentation will substantiate the amount claimed by the candidate.
Who determines whether a submitted cost is reasonable?
If Elections Nova Scotia receives questions about the reasonableness of an expense submitted under the CESP, staff will contact the official agent of the candidate for clarification. Ultimately, if an amount cannot be agreed upon, the CEO will decide.
What happens if I incur incremental costs prior to the writ?
Only costs incurred during the writ period will be considered for the CESP.
How is the period of “during an election” defined?
From the time the writ is issued until close of polls at 8:00pm on election day.
Who can provide childcare, spousal care, eldercare or disability support?
Any individual who provides the service and who you pay at market rate to for those services can provide care. This can include a family member who does not normally charge the candidate for these services. All costs must be substantiated with invoices or time logs including hours and dollar amount. Proof of payment must also be provided.
When and how will CESP reimbursements be made?
Processing of all election expense reimbursements, including CESP, will be completed as financial reports are submitted and are normally done within two months of receipt. Financial reports are due no later than 90 days after election day.
What types of disability expenses are covered?
This is open based on the nature of the disability; examples of incremental costs are:
- transportation costs
- attendant costs
- interpretation costs
- assistive technology and associated communications costs
- other costs that represent barriers to participation for candidates with disabilities
What are some examples of reasonable expenses that are over and above the expenses normally incurred by an eligible candidate?
The following are examples of reasonable expenses that could be claimed under the CESP:
Example 1: Candidate X normally pays $250 per week for childcare expenses that cover the hours of 8AM to 6PM for five days per week. During the writ period, Candidate X also pays for childcare four additional evenings per week plus 16 hours on the weekend. These additional costs total 32 hours per week at a cost of $640. In total Candidate X now pays $890 per week for childcare. Upon submission of supporting documentation (dates, name of care provider, hours worked, charge per hour, total cost paid), Elections Nova Scotia would reimburse an eligible candidate X for 100% of the additional childcare costs of $640.
Example 2: Candidate X rents a vehicle for campaigning during the election. The normal cost for 30 days is $500, and the cost to modify for wheelchair accessibility is $250. In this case the $500 is a normal election cost and the $250 is a new incremental cost to be claimed under the CESP. In this example, if Candidate X received less than 10% of the valid votes, therefore they are not eligible for any of these election expense reimbursement.
Example 3: Eligible candidate X is a single mother of two elementary school aged children who doesn’t normally pay for childcare but needs to pay for coverage during the writ period for after school evenings and weekends to be able to run a campaign. These costs are incremental and would be covered under the CESP up to the candidate’s total election expense limit.
Candidate Name Appearance Policy Q&A
What is the deadline for choosing how my name will appear on the ballot?
The deadline for choosing how your name will appear on the ballot is the same as the deadline for submitting your Candidate Nomination form (F105).
Can I have eligible voters from my electoral district attest to usage of my usual or single name as a form of evidence?
There are accents in my name, will they appear on the ballot?
Yes, accents regularly found in English or French will appear in your name on the ballot if they are included in the “Name as I Wish it to Appear on the Ballot” field of your Candidate Nomination form (F105).
Can I change how my name will appear on the ballot after the nomination period closes?
No, you must indicate how you wish your name to appear on the ballot before the close of nominations. If you have a name so similar or identical to another candidate in your electoral district that it could cause confusion to electors, then the CEO will consult with you and said other candidate to determine how both your names will appear on the ballot.
What types of evidence will be accepted as proof of a usual form of surname or single name?
The following is a list of examples of evidence that will be accepted as proof of a usual form of surname or single name. This list is not exhaustive and is meant as a guide to demonstrate the wide variety of evidence that will be accepted by Elections Nova Scotia.
- Newspaper/Magazine articles
- Campaign signage/flyers/promotional material
- Education certificates/diplomas
- Union card/professional license
- Debit/Credit cards
- Professional or political social media accounts
- Membership cards/passes
- Radio or TV interviews
- Professional ID badges/Employee cards
- Professional or political websites
- Invoices/bills/financial statements
Political Contributions FAQ
May I make a donation to a political party in Nova Scotia?
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.
Is there a limit on the amount I can contribute?
Yes, an individual can contribute a maximum of $5,000 annually to each registered party, its candidates or its electoral district associations.
Can corporations, partnerships and trade unions make political contributions?
No, only an individual resident in Nova Scotia can make political contributions.
Why is there a limit on contributions I can make when none previously existed?
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.
Can a political contribution be made in cash?
Yes, however cash contributions are restricted to a maximum of $100.
Who may accept a political contribution?
Only the official agent of the recognized party, candidate or electoral district association may accept a political contribution.
Can I loan money to a recognized party, candidate or electoral district?
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.
What if I contribute more than $5,000 annually?
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.
Where do I find the law on political contributions?
Elections Signage and Advertising Q&A
What is elections Advertising?
All advertising, by candidates, parties or third parties, which promotes or opposes any candidate or registered party or takes a position on an issue with which a candidate or registered party is associated, is considered election advertising during a provincial general election or by-election. Click here for more information on election signage and advertising.
How are elections signs and ads regulated?
During a provincial general election or a by-election the Elections Act regulates requirements for election-related signs, and other forms of election advertising including third-party advertising.
Before an election call, the Elections Act does not restrict campaign signs and election advertising. Registered candidates may campaign through door-to-door or public events anytime, and signs may be erected, provided they meet municipal bylaws or provincial transportation regulations.
When writs of election are issued for a provincial general election or a by-election, the Elections Act requires an authorization statement on all signs and advertising, including print, broadcast and online. The statement must be legible and state the following: “Authorized by the Official Agent for [name of candidate, registered party, individual, organization].”
Are there rules for election signage in apartment buildings and condominiums?
The Elections Actallows a tenant or owner in a multiple-unit residence or a condominium residence to post election signs on their own property. The size and type of poster may be subject to reasonable regulation by the landlord or condominium corporation.
Can election signs be placed in municipal or public property or highways?
The placement of election signs is subject to provincial and municipal laws and regulations. Municipal rules may vary; please check with the municipal authority in your area if you have concerns. In the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), people with questions about the placement of election signs can call 311.
Areas along highways, including some within municipalities, are managed by the Department of Transportation and Active Transit. People who have questions about signs along highways may call a toll-free number 1-844-696-7737 or email email@example.com.
Do election ads require an authorization statement?
The Elections Act requires an authorization statement on all election signs and advertising, including print, broadcast and online. The statement must be legible and state the following: “Authorized by the Official Agent for [name of candidate, registered party, individual, organization].”
Third Party Election Advertising Q&A
Who qualifies as a third party election advertiser?
According to the Elections Act, a third party is an individual or group that is not a candidate, registered political party, or registered electoral district association. A third-party election advertisement is a message that promotes or opposes a registered political party, the election of a certain candidate, or, a candidate's position on an issue within the election period, i.e., from the day the writ of election is issued through election day. Click here for more information on third party advertising.
What is third party election advertising?
A third party election advertisement is a message that promotes or opposes:
- a registered political party
- the election of a certain candidate, or
- a candidate's position on an issue.
It can advertise a position on a certain political issue, such as taxes.
A third-party advertisement can be for radio, television, newspaper, the internet, or any other type of media. Campaign buttons, clothing, or other items that identify the users as supporters or opponents of any recognized party, candidate or associated issue can also be types of third-party advertising.
What isn't a third party election advertisement?
Many communications that appear during an election are not third party advertisements, for example:
- editorials, debates, speeches, interviews, columns, letters, commentaries and news
- a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book for not less than its commercial value, especially if the book was going to be promoted before the election was called
- a document sent by a person or a group to members, employees or shareholders, such as a newsletter
- a non-commercial email from an individual expressing personal political views
Are there spending limits for third party advertising?
Once a third party spends $500 or more on election advertising, they are required by the Elections Act to register with Elections Nova Scotia within seven days. Once the writs of election are issued, third party advertising rules require that the third party identifies itself and it has authorized the advertising. There are also limits to how much money can be spent by third parties during the election. third party advertising.
Why does Elections Nova Scotia monitor third party election advertising?
The public needs to know who is sponsoring an election advertisement and the interest that lies behind any publicly stated position.
What do I have to do as a third party election advertiser?
Before an election is called, third parties should do the following:
- Keep track of all contributions you receive for election advertising purposes. Only individuals resident in Nova Scotia may make a contribution to a third party.
- Record the name and address of each contributor and the donation amount.
- Save your receipts, bills or vouchers for money spent on election advertising.
After an election is called, third parties must appoint a person to act as an financial agent for the third party if it spends more than $500 on election advertising.
The financial agent accepts contributions made to the third party for election advertising purposes. He or she must authorize every election advertising expense incurred by the third party.
Then, you should apply to register as a third party with Elections Nova Scotia.
How does a third party register?
If you plan to advertise during an election, you should apply to register as a third party with Elections Nova Scotia.
Send your application to the Chief Electoral Officer, and include:
- your name, address and telephone number, or the name, address and telephone number of your group
NOTE: The name of the group must not be easily confused with the name of a recognized political party or election candidate.
- the name and address of the officer who has signing authority for your group, if applicable
- a copy of the resolution authorizing the group for spend money on election advertising
- your signature, or the signature of the group's officer
- the address and telephone number of the office where your books and records are kept, including the mailing address
- the name, address and telephone number of you or your group's financial agent
What are third parties required to report?
Four months after election day, you or your official agent must file an election advertising report with Elections Nova Scotia, including:
- total contributions for election advertising purposes that were received up to six months before the election was called and until Election Day
- the name and address for each person who made contributions totalling more than $200 for election advertising purposes
- the amount and date of each contribution
- a list of the times and placements of all election advertising you paid for
- a list of your election advertising expenses
- signed declarations from your financial agent and, if different, the original applicant
NOTE: If you had no election advertising expenses, then clearly write that in your advertising report.
What can Elections Nova Scotia ask third parties to provide?
You might be asked for an original bill, receipt or voucher for any advertising expense greater than $50.
Do I have to identify the third party in my advertisements?
Yes. A third party election advertisement must clearly identify the name of the third party that has paid for the advertisement. For example, the ad must clearly state the name of a person, business, trade union, or other group.
Who can act as a financial agent for a third party?
The Elections Act does not allow any of the following people to be a financial agent:
- a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
- an election candidate
- an auditor acting for a registered political party, an electoral district association, or a candidate
- an election officer or an employee of Elections Nova Scotia
- a person who does not have full capacity to enter into contracts
- a person who was convicted of an offence under the current or former Elections Act in the past seven years
What a if third party receives an anonymous donation?
A third party cannot use money if it does not know the name or address of the person who contributed.
When can I run third party advertising?
In general, third party election advertising runs during an election campaign, but it can start before an election is called.
How much can I spend on third party advertising?
A third party can spend up to approximately $2,000 on advertising that promotes or opposes the election of one or more candidates in an electoral district.
In total, you can spend up to approximately $10,000 on advertising during a general election.
A third party cannot subdivide or join together with another third party in order to sidestep the spending limits.
Can I run third party election advertising on election day?
Third party election advertising on election day was once banned, but that section of the Elections Act has been repealed. Election advertising is now allowed on election day.
Public Funding FAQ
Do political parties receive public funding in Nova Scotia?
Yes, registered parties do.
What levels of public funding do political parties receive?
Nova Scotia Election Information
Does Nova Scotia have fixed election dates?
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.
What is the maximum time a government can hold office?
The House of Assembly can continue for five years with an extra 40 days after the issuing of the writs for a general election.
How many Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are there in Nova Scotia?
Prior to the 41st provincial general election there were 51 elected MLAs in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; one from each of the 51 electoral districts as determined by the 2012 Report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission.
In the fall of 2019, House of Assembly legislated 55 electoral district boundaries as recommended by the Electoral Boundaries Commission. These 55 new district boundaries are now in force for the 41st provincial general election.
What is an Electoral District?
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.
Who is my MLA?
The current members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly were elected on these 51 boundaries as defined by the 2012 Boundaries Commission. Follow this link to find your MLA and current electoral district in the 51 electoral boundaries.
Follow this link to find your electoral district for the 41st Provincial General Election in the new 55 electoral districts as defined on 2019.
Is my MLA still my MLA during an election?
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.
What is the difference between a by-election and an election?
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.
Why do we have a List of Electors?
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.
How is the List of Electors maintained?
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.
Is my information on the List of Electors kept private?
Yes. Personal information on the List of Electors is only used for election purposes.
When was the last general election in Nova Scotia? How many have there been?
Nova Scotia has had 40 general elections. The most recent was on May 30, 2017.
The 41st provincial general election is now underway, Election Day is August 17, 2021.
Can politicians advertise when no election has been called?
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.
Are there any rules governing the political activities of federal public service employees?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any rules governing the political activities of provincial public service employees?
Please refer to the Political Activity Rights of Nova Scotia Government Employees issued by the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission.