Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. election going ahead despite COVID-19

·2 min read

After previously postponing the vote due to the pandemic, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) is moving ahead with its presidential election on Feb. 8.

In a news release sent Friday, the territorial Inuit organization said it is going ahead with February voting dates and taking precautions to protect voters' safety.

The election was supposed to be held on Dec. 14, but NTI members approved amendments to the election rules that allow the board of directors to postpone an election in a public health emergency.

Friday's news release said in most Nunavut communities, advanced polls will be held on Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

Election day is set for Feb. 8 and polls will be open that day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

'No-contact' voting

Voters can also ask their community liaison officer for a "physical distancing, no-contact" mobile ballot.

This method of voting will be handled "similar to how the Hamlet of Arviat co-ordinated their no-contact delivery of goods and vouchers," chief returning officer Kathleen Sigurdson said in an email.

"We hired drivers and extra help to deliver ballots to people who wish to vote."

In Arviat, where there were 18 active cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, voters are asked to call the community liaison officer to request a ballot.

A poll clerk will bring the ballot and a ballot box to the voter's address and wait outside or return later to retrieve the ballot, says Friday's news release.

"No-contact polling has been designed to protect you and the polling clerks," says the release.

The voting times in Arviat are:

  • Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Feb. 2 to 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters who want to vote by proxy are asked to contact the chief returning officer or visit the NTI elections web page.

Mail-in ballots that had the original election date of Dec. 14, 2020, are still valid and will be counted on election day on Feb. 8.

Aluki Kotierk and Andrew Nakashuk are in the running for NTI president.

People must be 16 years of age or older as of Dec. 14, 2020, and enrolled under the Nunavut Agreement to be eligible to vote.