Nova Scotia’s municipal elections are set to continue as planned in October, despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Chuck Porter, Nova Scotia’s municipal affairs minister, confirmed the news in a letter sent to the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities on Wednesday.
“I can confirm for you we will be holding the municipal elections in October of 2020,” Porter wrote in his letter.
“If we delay elections beyond October, there will be thousands of Nova Scotians who will not have a representative at the table when those councils make important decisions about the future of their communities.”
The department of municipal affairs confirmed the decision to Global News on Wednesday afternoon.
The federation had asked the minister last month to consider delaying municipal elections.
But Porter said despite the unprecedented circumstances, it’s critical to preserve and respect the democratic rights of Nova Scotians.
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He admits that it is unlikely to be a regular election.
“Because the situation continues to be unpredictable, I encourage municipalities to continue their preparations for an October election with the current public health protocols in mind,” Porter wrote.
The minister said he believes there are a number of options for municipalities to conduct elections safely, including mail-in ballots, over the telephone, through the computer or by advance polling.
He said that polls should strive to enforce physical distance measures by increasing the number of polling stations or limiting the number of electors in a polling station at any one time.
“Encourage candidates and their teams to use signs, printed materials, telephone, social media or virtual options to engage with constituents, rather than canvassing door to door,” wrote Porter.
The minister said his department plans to assist municipalities as they plan to administer the upcoming elections.
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