Amendments to the Elections Act are now in force. The changes include providing new tools to make voting easier and better support those who wish to run for elected office.
“We want to bring the Elections Act in line with the needs of today’s voters,” said Attorney General and Justice Minister Randy Delorey. “That’s why the province is implementing modern legislation that increases opportunities to vote early, better supports for candidates who are primary caregivers in their families and more options for the use of technology in elections.”
Bill 225 passed with all-party support and received Royal Assent in March 2020. It included more than 40 amendments.
The changes will support the participation of more Nova Scotians in seeking elected office by reimbursing candidates for reasonable additional family and accessibility related expenses incurred during the election. Including these as election expenses will support greater accessibility for candidates with a disability and also assist candidates who have additional expenses for child care, spousal care, elder care or for providing care to a person with a disability.
Other changes include:
- providing Elections Nova Scotia with the option to provide internet voting to military members deployed outside of Nova Scotia
- providing Elections Nova Scotia the ability to offer electronic ballots at advance polls in the province
- removing the requirement for electors to provide their sex and making it optional for electors to provide their gender
- allowing personal tax receipts for contributions to registered candidates once the election writ is issued, rather than when their nomination is approved
- extending the right to vote to candidates and their spouses who live outside the district of a by-election, as is the practice during a general election
- simplifying the rules around location of campaign offices and campaign signs in proximity to polling locations
- requiring a candidate to provide rationale for requesting a judicial recount when there is a difference of 10 or more votes
- changes were made to the House of Assembly Act in the fall of 2019 to reinstate the constituencies of Argyle, Clare, Richmond and Preston
- those changes increase the number of provincial electoral districts from 51 to 55 for the next general election
- changes were also made to introduce digital electoral boundaries to make it easier and more convenient for Nova Scotians to find information related to electoral districts