Bill allows voting halt in New Brunswick municipal elections for COVID-19 outbreak

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FREDERICTON — New Brunswick has introduced legislation that would allow the suspension of candidate nominations and voting in the May 10 municipal elections if there is a lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Introduced today, the legislation would allow the municipal electoral officer to halt voting in any of the province's seven health zones.

In a news release, Local Government Minister Daniel Allain says the arrival of a more contagious variant in the province makes it clear that a process is needed to temporarily suspend nominations and voting if required.

Under An Act Respecting Municipal General Elections in 2021, the municipal electoral officer would have to ensure that the electoral process and activities related to the election resume within 30 days after the date that a lockdown ends in a health region.

Reporting of results from health zones not affected by the lockdown would also be halted until all voters provincewide have cast ballots and the results have been tabulated.

Legislation passed last December gave the municipal electoral officer the flexibility to adapt or modify certain voting procedures, but it did not include the ability to suspend voting.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press