Charlottetown-Winsloe gets P.E.I.'s first taste of voting in COVID-19 era

·2 min read

Residents of Charlotteton-Winsloe strapped on their masks, sanitized their hands and marked their ballots in the first advance poll of the District 10 byelection Saturday.

The polling station at Community Baptist Church on Sherwood Road were open until 7 p.m. By that time, according to a release from Elections Prince Edward Island, 15.42% of eligible registered voters had cast an advance ballot, and an additional 5.64% had voted by mail-in ballot.

Advance polls will also be open Monday and Friday.

The byelection will be held Nov. 2. About 4,200 people in the district are eligible to vote.

Tim Garritty, P.E.I.'s chief electoral officer, said the byelection will give voters an idea of what to expect in future elections under COVID-19 health measures.

Nicola MacLeod/CBC
Nicola MacLeod/CBC

Masks will be available at the polling station for those who do not have them, he said. They are part of additional costs for the byelection, which include other personal protective equipment for staff and voters, increased signage and prepaid postage for mail-in ballots.

This is just a reality of what we need to do to keep both our workers and all the electors safe. — Tim Garrity

"These are all additional costs that are normally not part of any election and I have a feeling they may be part of elections to come for some time. So this is just a reality of what we need to do to keep both our workers and all the electors safe," he said in an interview CBC News: Compass.

Garrity said more than 230 people applied for mail-in ballots. He said about 630 people used mail-in ballots for the 27 districts combined in the last provincial election.

"To have this many people apply for a bylelection was a great sign for us."

The candidates are, alphabetically by last name:

  • Zack Bell, Progressive Conservative Party.

  • Zac Murphy, Liberal Party.

  • Lynne Thiele, NDP.

  • Chris van Ouwerkerk, Green Party.

Nicola MacLeod/CBC
Nicola MacLeod/CBC

The PCs currently hold a minority government, with 13 seats.

The Greens, under Peter Bevan-Baker, have eight and the Liberals five. The Liberals are in the process of choosing a new leader.

The P.E.I. New Democrats have no seats in the legislature, and leader Joe Byrne stepped down this summer.

A win for the PCs would give the party 14 seats and a slim majority in the 27-seat legislature.

The byelection was necessary when former Liberal MLA Robert Mitchell resigned last month.

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