N.L. elections authority allowed four people to vote by phone, despite no legislation

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's elections authority says it allowed four people to vote by phone in the delayed provincial election, and a lawyer has since determined the votes were illegal.

In a statement today, Elections NL says chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk allowed the four people to vote over the phone because there was something wrong with the mail-in ballots they received.

The statement says the phone-voting process was modelled on a system used in British Columbia, and the secrecy of the vote was maintained.

However legal counsel advised the office today that telephone voting is not allowed, the statement says, and Elections NL is now trying to figure out if there is another way the four people can vote.

In a Feb. 17 interview with The Canadian Press, Chaulk noted B.C. has legislation permitting telephone voting but said he'd wind up in court if he were to allow the same.

Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial election, initially scheduled for Feb. 13, was upended by a COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in a shift to mail-in ballots with results now expected Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press