It’s election day for residents of New Brunswick’s northwest region, where local election campaigns were temporarily halted by a lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Results from across the province for municipal, health and school board elections are expected to be released this evening.
Votes have already been counted for all municipalities, except for Upper Madawaska and Edmundston. Polls for those areas will close later at 8 p.m. Final results for all 14 electoral districts will be available beginning at 8 p.m. AT.
New Brunswickers can access a live stream on YouTube that will start at 9 a.m. and show the process of loading ballots.
“We’ll lay out all of the tabulation machines, we’ll use the codes to close the machines, our results tape will be printed and we will remove the memory cards that all of that information is stored on and they’ll be able to see those being taken to the computer and loaded up,” Kimberly Poffenroth, chief electoral officer for New Brunswick, told CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton Tuesday.
Planning for COVID
This year’s municipal election presented challenges, with a two-week voting delay between regions, but Poffenroth said the elections agency was prepared after lessons learned from the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.
“Being prepared ahead of time makes things run much more smoothly,” she said.
“There was a plan in place. If a lockdown occurred, we knew exactly what the steps were going to be so we weren’t left scrambling, trying to figure things out on the fly.”
Poffenroth said Elections New Brunswick spoke with local government and MLAs about what it needed to be successful should a lockdown happen.
She said it was unfortunate New Brunswickers weren’t able to access election results on May 10 as planned, but she was pleasantly surprised there wasn’t an outburst from the public.
“There weren’t as many complaints as I thought there might have [been] and once we explained to people the rationale behind it, people understood,” said Poffenroth.