N.W.T. voters go to polls today in territorial election

An N.W.T. election polling station in 2019. Residents of the territory will cast ballots on Tuesday for the next legislative assembly. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

It’s voting day in the N.W.T., as residents decide who will make up the territory’s 20th Legislative Assembly.

Polls open at 9 a.m. in 16 of the territory’s 19 ridings. The other three ridings had candidates who were acclaimed: Caitlin Cleveland in Kam Lake, Caroline Wawzonek in Yellowknife South, and Jane Weyallon Armstrong in Monfwi.

Fifty-three candidates are competing for the other seats.

The election comes more than a month later than originally planned. It had been scheduled for Oct. 3, but MLAs voted in August to postpone it as the territory was then dealing with devastating wildfires and widespread community evacuations.

Some residents have already voted. As of Friday, 2,382 of the 25,856 registered voters had cast ballots.

Whatever the outcome of the election, some things are already certain: there will be at least a handful of new MLAs, and there will also be a new premier.

Five of the territory’s ridings do not have an incumbent candidate on the ballot, including Range Lake which was represented by former premier Caroline Cochrane. She decided not to run for reelection as MLA.

The N.W.T. has a consensus government, meaning there are no political parties or party leaders. That means residents won’t know who their next premier is until later this month. The 19 members of the assembly will choose someone from among their ranks by Nov. 30, to serve as premier.

Cabinet ministers will also be chosen by the assembly, and named by Dec. 7. Cabinet could consist of six or more MLAs and the premier will assign their portfolios.

Four of the people who served in the cabinet before dissolution are running for reelection: R.J. Simpson, Diane Archie, Paulie Chinna, and Shane Thompson. Caroline Wawzonek was acclaimed in her riding, and Julie Green, the former health minister, is not running again.

Follow election night

CBC will broadcast a live special on Tuesday evening with real-time projections, reactions and analysis starting at 7:30 p.m. That will air on TV and radio in the N.W.T., and be streamed live our website.

You can watch that here.

Where to vote and how

If you’re voting in person, polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where you’re voting depends on your district, and you can find your polling location listed on Elections N.W.T.’s website.

If you’re opting to cast your ballot online or by mail, you will have had to already apply for an absentee ballot. You either mail that into the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer by 8 p.m. tonight, or click the link sent to you and use the provided PIN to complete your online ballot, also by 8 p.m.

If you missed that, you can always go to an in-person polling station.

What you’ll need

To vote, N.W.T. residents will need a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s licence or a general identification card that proves their address.

People who don’t have an ID that verifies both their identity and residency will have to bring two separate documents including that information. For example, they could bring a passport and a lease, or a licence along with a bank statement or bill with the voter’s name and address. Find a full list of acceptable documents here.

As a last resort for anyone who doesn’t have sufficient identification, voters can ask another registered voter to vouch for their identity. Both the voter and the person vouching for them will have to complete an “oath of elector” form at the polling place.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: N.W.T. projected to spend $100M on fighting wildfires — 5 times more than budgeted, CBC News

United States: Bursting ice dam in Alaska highlights risks of glacial flooding around the globe, The Associated Press

CBC News

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