Voter turnout in Nova Scotia: Will it be up or down for Tuesday’s election?

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By Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - As Nova Scotians head to the polls Tuesday, advanced voter turnout will have already bypassed the last provincial election in 2009 by more than 50 per cent.

Nova Scotia votes

Dana Doiron, spokesperson for Elections Nova Scotia, said when advanced polls closed Saturday night, 110,447 people had cast their ballot.

“That’s about 66 per cent more than in 2009,” Doiron said.

He said the marked upswing in advanced voting could be due to the fact there are more ways to vote in the election than ever before, and people could vote every day of the four-week campaign except Sundays.

Stations were set up at senior’s homes, shelters, on university or college campuses, and in jails. Those who were outside of the province could also mail in their vote.

“We were quite pleased that a number of people who had obstacles or found it difficult to vote in the past, found those obstacles removed,” said Doiron.

“We’ll know whether or not that has an effect on (overall) turnout sometime on Tuesday night,” he added.

Four years ago, voter turnout was about 58 per cent of electorate. He said if everyone who voted on election day in 2009 vote on Tuesday this year, the turnout could be up in the 61 per cent range.

When it comes to the block of undecided voters, political science professor Jeff McLeod of Mount Saint Vincent University said they don’t pick one party over another, but “follow the trends that have already been established,” which point to the Liberals having an upper hand.

However, McLeod said “anything is possible with people,” and the whole election could change in the last few hours before the polls close.

“We live in a Twitterverse,” McLeod said. “We live with a very volatile media environment that can really sway opinion very quickly, unlike campaigns before.”

Organizations: Elections Nova Scotia, Mount Saint Vincent University

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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