Elections Nova Scotia

A Dozen Ways To Vote

It’s Easy to Vote in Nova Scotia Provincial Elections. 

Under the Elections Act, there are a dozen ways to vote in Nova Scotia provincial elections and options for how and when you may vote. For example, during an election, you may vote on any day of the week except Sundays and the Monday before election day.

Here are the many different ways of voting.

1. Vote at Your Polling Station on Election Day

Most voters will vote on election day, always a Tuesday, from 8 am to 8 pm.  There are three ways to find out where your polling station is:

  1. check the Voter Information Card you receive in the mail,
  2. enter your postal code or address in the Where Do I Vote? application on Elections Nova Scotia’s website at Where do I Vote?
  3. phone Elections Nova Scotia toll free at 1 800 565 1504 or TTY 1 866 774 7074

Polling locations will have level access for wheelchairs, and tools and services to assist those who have vision or hearing difficulties.  If you have a disability and need assistance in voting, check with your returning office ahead of time to make arrangements.  In the rare event that your assigned polling location does not have the facilities you need, they will transfer you to one that does.


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2. Vote at an Advance Poll

For those who wish to vote early, Elections Nova Scotia sets aside seven days of advance polls.  You may vote at any advance poll in the province.  The advance polls are open on Saturday to Saturday (closed Sunday) immediately before election day, from 9am to 6pm (open until 8pm on Thursday and Friday).

To find out where your advance poll is in your electoral district, check the Voter Information Card you receive in the mail, visit the Elections Nova Scotia website or contact us by phone.

3. Vote at Your Returning Office

You can vote at the returning office in your electoral district from 9 am to 6 pm every day except Sundays up to and including election day. Open the Thursday and Friday night before election day until 8pm.


4. Vote at any Returning Office in Nova Scotia

You can vote at any returning office in the province from 9 am to 6pm every day except Sundays up to and including the Saturday before election day. Open the Thursday and Friday night before election day until 8pm. 

5. Vote at Home

If you cannot get to your polling station or a returning office you may vote by write-in ballot by obtaining and completing an application after an election has been called. Once your application is approved, you will be given a write-in ballot. Call your returning office or Elections Nova Scotia for assistance.

If you feel you need help applying for a write-in ballot, there are two options open to you:

  1. Ask a neighbour, family member, care giver or friend to act as your agent in applying for and voting by write-in ballot; or
  2. Make an appointment through your local returning office for a write-in ballot team to visit your home and assist you with voting by write-in ballot.

6. Vote in Residential Centres

All returning officers make arrangements for visits on election day to seniors’ residences, long-term care facilities and other institutions with ten or more resident electors.

If you live in a residential centre with fewer than ten residents, your local returning officer will make arrangements with the administrator for a team to visit the facility to assist you to vote by Write-in Ballot before election day.

Contact the administrator of your facility for more information on the date and time.

7. Vote when you live at a Shelter

If you are temporarily staying in shelter and need the protection of anonymity, contact Elections Nova Scotia or your local returning office for assistance.  You will be able to vote with the assistance of a write-In ballot coordinator team and your name and location will be held in confidence.

If you are homeless with no permanent residence, the Elections Act provides that the place where you sleep at registration time – a shelter, hostel or other place that provides food, lodging or social services – may be considered your residence. When an election is called, returning officers will contact the administrators of shelters to inform residents that, if they wish to vote, they may use the shelter as their “place of residence” if they are otherwise qualified as electors. A poster at the shelter will have the location of the appropriate polling locations. When registering to vote, you will be required to complete an application to be added to the list of electors and will be asked for identification with your name and signature.

8. Vote by Mail Outside Nova Scotia

Eligible Nova Scotia electors who are living temporarily outside Nova Scotia are able to vote by mail from outside the province.  After an election has been called, visit the Elections Nova Scotia website or contact us by phone for an application to vote by write-in ballot.  Don’t wait to initiate this process because the last day to apply for a write-in ballot by mail or courier is ten days before election day.  To be counted, your completed ballot must be received at your local returning office by close of polls (8 pm) on election day.

9. Vote at University or Community College

If you are a post-secondary student, like other Nova Scotia voters you are entitled to vote in the electoral district in which your principal residence is located.  Since many college and university students have two residences - one when at school, and one when not at school - students must choose one or the other as principal residence for the purposes of Nova Scotia elections.  You can then vote on election day, at the advance polls, at any Returning Office, or by mail as described above.  Visit the Elections Nova Scotia website or contact us by phone for more details.

10.   Vote in Hospital

If you are temporarily in hospital during a Nova Scotia election, you can vote by write-in ballot. Write-in ballot teams will visit hospitals on designated days between 10 am and 7 pm during the week before election day. Check with the hospital staff for the dates and times of visits to the hospital.

11.    Military Electors Posted Outside Nova Scotia

Qualified Nova Scotia electors, who are away on duty aboard ship, at a Canadian Forces base in Canada, or serving out of country when a provincial election is called, may vote by write-in ballot.  Although the time lines for voting are tight, plans are in place to assist serving members in meeting them.

During a provincial general election, Elections Nova Scotia will contact the Judge Advocate General’s office which will send a message to all units of the Canadian Forces to inform them of the election, the eligibility requirements for voting, and the process for applying to vote by write-in ballot.

During a by-election, Elections Nova Scotia advertises within the province to alert friends and relatives to advise eligible members of the Canadian Forces to apply for a write-in ballot after an election is called and the key dates for applying and returning their ballot.

For voting purposes, if the serving member of the Canadian Forces has lived in Nova Scotia at least six months and intends to return at the end of their duty, their residence is their current Nova Scotia address or failing that, the place they declared in their Canadian Forces Statement of Ordinary Residence. The mailing address for the purpose of receiving a write-in ballot kit is the address of the ship or base where the elector is posted.

12.  Incarcerated Nova Scotia electors Inside and Outside Nova Scotia

Immediately following the election call, Elections Nova Scotia provides liaison officers at each provincial and federal correctional facility with brochures and write-In ballot application forms to distribute to eligible electors held in the facility.

Elections Nova Scotia receives and reviews the application forms to determine whether the elector is qualified to vote and to confirm the elector’s electoral district.  If approval criteria are met, Elections Nova Scotia will issue a write-in ballot kit for each approved elector and arrange expedient delivery to the correctional facility liaison officer in the correctional facility where the elector resides.

The elector will vote using the write-in ballot and the liaison officer will return the ballot to Elections Nova Scotia.  Once received, the ballot is sent to the appropriate returning office where it will be counted on election day.

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