Government introduced changes to the Elections Act today, April 25, that will include new rules around advertising and a maximum time period to hold an election.
The amendments will better align Nova Scotia’s legislation with best practices from across the country.
“Some recent experiences, both locally and nationally, have highlighted changes that could be adopted,” said Justice Minister Diana Whalen. “These proposed legislative changes will improve administration and strengthen our act and practices.”
The proposed changes include creating a maximum time period of 46 days to hold an election. During an election, spending limits are fixed for parties and candidates, however, each week the period is extended, it comes with a significant cost to taxpayers totalling $750,000 for an election and $15,000 for a by-election. The change will allow the premier to accommodate major events such as religious and statutory holidays, and will offer Nova Scotians access to timely elections.
Other proposed improvements to the act include:
— banning advertising from within 60 meters of the entrance to all polling stations
— allowing any candidate to vote in the electoral district where they reside or are running
— new political parties must submit an application to Elections Nova Scotia that includes the signatures of at least 25 electors in each of 10 different electoral districts. All signatures must be collected within one year of the submission
— unused tax receipts must now be returned to the CEO of Elections Nova Scotia within 30 days of Election Day
— authorization will be given to add seeds or fictitious names to the list of electors in an effort to enhance the ability to uncover misuse of the list of electors for non-electoral purposes.
“The Elections Commission is very pleased with the proposed changes to the Elections Act,” said Vince MacLean, chair of the Elections Commission. “Specifically, we are happy that the province has decided to create a maximum time period. This was an amendment the commission requested and we feel it will improve fairness and decrease any abuse of the act.”