Alternative voting process proves successful

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.