A municipal election that saw the Town of Amherst use an alternative voting process for the first time in its 131-year history has proven successful.
“Considering the many challenges created for us by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to introduce new technology, such as alternative voting, I’m very pleased with how the process went,” Returning Officer Kim Jones said, following the close of the voting on Oct. 17, 2020.
“The alternative voting process, provided by Intelivote System Inc. of Dartmouth, worked extremely well.”
The challenges created by the pandemic included finding a way to meet provincial public health orders and ensuring people’s health without hindering their right to vote. The solution was an alternative voting process that did away with paper ballots by enabling voters to use their phone, computer or smartphone to cast a ballot between noon on Oct. 5, 2020, and 7 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2020.
As an example of how successful the alternative voting process was, Jones pointed to the participation rate that saw 52.4 per cent of the town’s 7,673 eligible voters cast a ballot. That compares to a 51 per cent participation rate from the 2016 election when paper ballots and polling stations were used.
“While there was a huge change in the election process, compared to what people were used to, the voter participation showed the resident of Amherst embraced the new system,” Jones said.
The unofficial results of the election are:
Ed Childs 400 votes
David Kogon 2,818 votes Elected
Vaughn Martin 762 votes
George Baker 1,699 votes Elected
Vince Byrne 1,041 votes
Sheila Christie 2,640 votes Elected
Hal Davidson 2,742 votes Elected
Lisa Emery 1,728 votes Elected
Paul (Skippy) Farrow 762 votes
Dale Fawthrop 1,649 votes Elected
Darrell Jones 1,575 votes
Leon Landry 2,011 votes Elected
Wayne (Butch) MacKenzie 1,392 votes
Roy T. Pettigrew 1,553 votes
Terry Rhindress 1,505 votes
Should the Town of Amherst fluoridate the municipal water supply? Yes 1,480 No 2,296
The results remain unofficial until they are verified on official addition day, which is Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.
Candidates also have until Oct. 27, 2020, to apply for a recount.
Results of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial election will not be available until Monday, Oct. 19, 2020.
The new council will be sworn in during a meeting in early November.