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Turnout for Shopping Plebiscite Causes Delays at Advance Poll

(Tuesday, October 12/04)-- The provincial government’s plebiscite on Sunday shopping is believed to be the main reason for the unprecedented turnout in Halifax Regional Municipality at an advance poll over the weekend for the upcoming municipal election.

More voters turned out to vote in the Advance poll last Saturday, than the total number who turned out to vote in advance polls on two separate days in the 2000 municipal election.

In addition to receiving eligible voters in elections for Mayor, Councillor and the Halifax Regional School Board, polling stations had to accommodate a large number of citizens wanting to vote in the Sunday Shopping plebiscite.

Many voters who were only qualified to vote for the plebiscite (that is, they have been resident in Nova Scotia for three months, but have not resided in HRM for three months) and therefore, had to be sworn in and added to the voter list. This resulted in additional delays at the polling stations.

The Province has ordered that its Sunday shopping plebiscite be held in conjunction with this year’s municipal elections throughout Nova Scotia.

Municipal Clerk Jan Gibson said today that Deputy Returning Officers and Poll Clerks and Supervisors at the polls tried to manage the polls in a calm and efficient manner last Saturday.

Up until 3:00 p.m., some polls had reported wait times from 45 to 50 minutes. However by 4:00- 5:00 pm. the wait had been reduced to a steady flow, which is the usual experience with Advance Polls in a municipal election.

Electors who were not on the voter’s list were asked to show identification, were given an oath and then permitted to vote.

“Overall, I am happy with the performance of the workers, who made every effort to handle the large crowds, to give the oath to those who were not on the list, and to generally ensure that the voting process is conducted in a fair and impartial manner,” said Ms. Gibson.

Saturday’s advance poll was the first of three opportunities for eligible voters to cast their ballots. Another advance poll is being held today from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m and Regular Polling day will be held this Saturday, October 16 from 8:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m.

HRM advises that specific questions about Sunday shopping and the provincial plebiscite should be directed to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice at 424-6282 or visit its website at

Inquiries may also be directed to Service Nova Scotia at 424-5200 or 1-800-670-4357.


John O’Brien
Corporate Communications officer
(902) 490-6531

Above content last modified Thursday, November 02, 2023 at 11:40am.