Chief electoral officer in Newfoundland and Labrador defends hand-delivering ballots

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer is defending a decision to hand-deliver some special ballot kits to people in his St. John's neighbourhood.

Bruce Chaulk says he doesn't see any problem delivering ballots to about six people, including Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Liberal Finance Minister Siobhan Coady. He says he noticed the addresses were on his way home and didn't go out of his way.

Elections NL moved to special mail-in ballots after cancelling in-person voting on Feb. 12, following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital region.

Memorial University of Newfoundland political science professor Amanda Bittner says the optics are bad.

She says some rural residents fear they may not be able to deliver their ballots on time while Chaulk is hand-delivering ballots to people who live in his upper-middle-class neighbourhood.

Ballots must be postmarked by March 12, and Chaulk says some people are hand-delivering theirs to Elections NL to make sure they are received on time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press