Electronic voting trending in Annapolis County

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS – Electronic voting seems to be trending in Annapolis County. As of early afternoon Oct. 13, 24 per cent of the municipality’s eligible voters had marked their ballots with more than four days left to go in Nova Scotia’s 2020 municipal elections.

“Now that voting has started and people are seeing and experiencing electronic voting for themselves it’s really exciting to see them give it a try for the first time,” said returning officer Doug Patterson. “The best part is when voters realize they were able to vote and it just took a few minutes. They did it from home or wherever they liked. It was fast and easy.”

When Patterson went home Friday for the long weekend and turkey dinner, voting didn’t stop. By early Friday evening 1,957 people – just over 16 per cent -- had already voted by phone or web since the electronic portal was opened last Monday. By Oct. 13 at noon it had jumped to more than 2,900 ballots cast and 24 per cent.

Normally voter turnout for municipal elections is low at around 30 per cent. Patterson is hoping the trend so far with electronic balloting will put that number up as high as 60 per cent. The key, he said, is that voters can do it any time they want.

“No special planning to get it done on just a couple of days when voting was available,” he said. “No special trip. No driving in the rain and getting wet. No using up a sunny weekend afternoon. It’s just done. They had their say and it only took a couple minutes.”

Voters can use their home telephones, cell phones, or the internet to cast their ballots electronically. Access is as simple as punching in their pin code they would have received in the mail and following the prompts. And if there was any doubt at first about people catching on, Patterson said that’s been laid to rest.

“Its great to see people figuring out how electronic voting works and how many ways you can access it,” he said. “The No. 1 concern we heard when we first announced that the municipality was offering electronic voting was that it can only be done if you have a computer and internet. It’s great to see the happy surprise in a person’s face when they learn that it works on their landline phone too.”

If people are unsure of what to do, help is just a phone call away. Call 833-393-0255 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Oct. 16 and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 17.

“It’s going to be exciting to see where we end up in hopefully helping more people than ever make use of their right to vote,” he said.

RESULTS

Following are results as of 2 p.m. October 13, 2020. The incumbents in districts 8 and 9 were acclaimed.

Summary             Voters  Participants        Per Cent

                           12,145   2,915                        24.00 %

District 1              1,292     280                         21.70 %
District 2              1,299     292                         22.50 %
District 3              1,499     517                         34.50 %
District 4              1,361     351                         25.80 %
District 5              1,191     223                         18.70 %
District 6              1,260     273                         21.70 %
District 7              1,384     466                         33.70 %
District 10            1,442     285                         19.80 %
District 11            1,417     228                         16.10 %

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