Fredericton (October 29, 2020) – Liberal Leader Roger Melanson believes that MLAs could benefit from having the Chief Electoral Officer appear before a legislative committee to provide reflections on the difficulties encountered with respect to managing the 2020 general election.
“The Chief Electoral Officer appeared before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa this week to discuss the challenges faced in holding an election during a pandemic”, said Melanson. “She expressed serious concerns about the Premier’s decision to call the New Brunswick election in such a short period of time which resulted in many New Brunswickers not being able to cast a vote”.
According to Melanson, the comments of the Chief Electoral Officer reflect many of the complaints heard from New Brunswickers during the campaign who were very upset about the problems associated with the elect ion.
“There were many serious problems this past election caused by calling a snap election in a pandemic with a 28 day campaign,” said Melanson. “Elections New Brunswick had previously expressed concern about having an early election and it seem their fears were realized. It is not the fault of Elections NB officials that they were placed in an untenable situation, but the Premier failed to heed these warnings to satisfy his political agenda”.
Melanson says he heard many complaints from voters during the election including people who were denied the right to vote because the opening of many Elections Offices were delayed – up to two weeks, problems with voting in long-term care facilities and people not having enough time to return mail in ballots.
“This is unacceptable in a democracy. There needs to be a full review of what happened and how we can prevent such problems in the future”, said Melanson. “The first step is to have the Chief Electoral Officer appear before the New Brunswick Legislature and we will be calling for this to happen”.