Report on the Conduct of the May 30, 2017 Provincial General Election and Recommendations for Legislative Change, Volume II – Released
January 17, 2018
Elections Nova Scotia’s Volume II: Report on the Conduct of the May 30, 2017 Provincial General Election and Recommendations for Legislative Change has been transmitted to the members of the House of Assembly through the Speaker Honourable Kevin Murphy. The report includes the Chief Electoral Officer’s 23 recommendations for legislative change and additional analysis of statistics provided in Volume I: Statement of Votes & Statistics tabled in September.
Though overall voter turnout was down to 53.4% in 2017 from 58.2% in 2013, participation in early voting opportunities continued to grow from 24.5% to 29.4%. Early voting opportunities expanded as advance polls were open for seven days in 2017 compared to two days in 2013. Elections Nova Scotia offered voters some unique access to voting opportunities that are unavailable to voters throughout the rest of the country. Electors could vote at any voting opportunity offered in the province for a candidate running in their home district, using a ballot-on-demand throughout the election period except election day. Travel time standards of 25 minutes for early voting and 15 minutes on election day were introduced and the closest polls identified on personalized Voter Information Cards to ensure each voter was aware of their nearest voting opportunities.
One of Chief Electoral Officer Richard Temporale’s recommendations is to develop a legislated process to reduce elector confusion when a candidate withdraws or a party withdraws their endorsement of a candidate after close of nominations. “The experience of each election brings new issues and lessons learned,” says CEO Temporale. “The Elections Act currently doesn’t offer solutions to these circumstances leaving local electors uninformed of the status of the affected candidate. It’s one of several areas of the Act we’re asking legislators to amend.”
The CEO also recommends initiating e-voting for members of the military serving out of province, and adding flexibility for an elector to opt out of reporting their “sex” when applying to be added to the Register or List of Electors.
Several of the recommendations are for administrative changes aimed at streamlining and improving the integrity of the voting process, managing costs and expediting the counting of ballots on election night to avoid repeating the late reporting of results experienced in this election.
Nineteen of the 23 recommendations have received unanimous support of the members of the Election Commission who represent the three parties with members sitting in the Assembly. The remaining four recommendations are supported by the majority of parties represented on the commission.
The report is the second of three volumes reporting on the Proceedings of the 40th Provincial General Election held May 30th, 2017. Volume III: Financial Information & Statistics, will follow in the spring of 2018 and will provide financial information on election expenses, candidate reimbursement, election administration costs and savings, financial statistics and any additional recommendations for legislative change related to parts of the Elections Act that pertain to election finances.
Volumes I and II, and subsequent reports on the May 30th, 2017 Provincial General Election, will be available online at http://electionsnovascotia.ca/election-data/past-results/may-2017.
Director, Policy & Communications