Ahead of the August 8 Provincial by-election in Preston, the Cooperator interviewed registered candidates from the three major parties. Find profiles of these candidates linked below, and stay on this page to read an overview of the election and voting information. (Two candidates, Bobby Taylor of United Nova Scotians, and Anthony Edmonds of the Green Party, were not yet official candidates when this story was written.)
Twila Grosse, PC
Carlo Simmons, Liberal
Colter Simmonds, NDP
Bobby Taylor, Nova Scotians United
Anthony Edmonds, Green
After Liberal MLA Angela Simmonds stepped down on April 1, Premier Tim Houston called the byelection to replace her seat on July 7. This election will be the first one in which voters will be using an electronic voting system, which in theory should make tabulating the results when the polls close much faster.
Five candidates have completed the official nominating process. Liberal candidate Carlo Simmons is the owner of Simmons Paving Company. New Democratic Party candidate Colter Simmonds is a youth advocate and basketball coach. Progressive Conservative candidate Twila Grosse spent 35 years in finance at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
Bobby Taylor registered to run for the Nova Scotians United Party. A last minute entry into the race, Anthony Edmonds is the leader of the Green Party and has previously run federally under the Greens in Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook.
Currently, Nova Scotia has a majority Progressive Conservative government. The seat was most recently represented by the Liberal Party and has been since 2003.
Elections Nova Scotia has extensive information about how to vote, and the entire electoral process, on its website, electionsnovascotia.ca.
Am I Registered to Vote?
To find out if you are on the voter registration list or that your information is correct, call Elections Nova Scotia at 1-800-565-1504 or TTY 1-866-774-7074.
How Do I Register to Vote?
To vote in a provincial election, you must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on election day (August 8, 2023) and have lived in Nova Scotia for at least six months.
You can register on Election Day at our polling station if you have not already done so. To register on Election Day, the poll clerk can add your name to the list, if you have the appropriate ID (the list of appropriate IDs is on the Elections Nova Scotia website.)
There are several methods for registering before Election Day through the mail, by email, or through an online voter registration service. You can also go to the returning office in your electoral district and apply in person.
On Election Day, voters will use traditional paper ballots. But for the first time, voters can use e-balloting to vote in a Provincial election before Election Day. After changes to the Elections Act in 2021, Elections Nova Scotia started development of an electronic voting system that will allow in-person balloting on a tablet.
E-balloting will open after nominations close on July 19. This is not internet voting and must be done at voting locations. For more information, please go to electionsnovascotia.ca/Preston2023.
E-voters will receive a voting card with a barcode from an elections officer. Then, they go to a voting booth with a privacy screen. The voting booth has a barcode scanner, a tablet, and a receipt printer.
When the voter scans their barcode, the tablet will show all nominated candidates on the screen. The voter will tap their preferred candidate and the tablet will ask for confirmation of their choice.
When the voter confirms their choice, the vote is sent to an encrypted, isolated system that can be tabulated after polls close on election day. At the same time, a receipt is printed with visual confirmation of the vote. Elections officers will instruct voters to put the receipt into an envelope, and then into a traditional voting box. This receipt will be used to verify in case of a recount.
Because of the digital system, elections officials expect pre-vote counting to take minutes, rather than hours