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EDITORIAL: Just vote

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Wondering if your vote really matters?

Ask Progressive Conservative John Lohr in Kings North, whose 2013 election was dependent on the 22 people who cast a ballot for him over the NDP incumbent Jim Morton. It was even closer than that – Lohr finished just 116 votes ahead of the third-place Liberal candidate, Stephen Pearl. Not surprisingly, a judicial recount had to be held in that riding before Lohr was officially declared the winner.

While it’s impossible to know yet if any of the races in Kings or West Hants will be as close as that 2013 race, each and every vote matters. This is the opportunity to have your say about how government is run, where you want your tax dollars spent and who you want speaking for you in the legislature for the next few years.

It’s impossible to ignore how significant these ridings are – not only voters in this region, but Nova Scotia as a whole, should be watching for the results.

In West Hants, for instance, voters could make history and elect the riding’s first female representative if Tory Janice Munroe Dodge or NDP Lalia Kerr are elected. Or will voters stick with Chuck Porter, who is running under the Liberal banner this time, unlike the previous elections in 2006, 2009 and 2013, when he was elected as a Progressive Conservative? Porter sat as an independent after leaving the PC caucus in 2014, citing Jamie Baillie’s leadership as a key factor in his decision, before he crossed the floor and joined the Liberals. That’s a move that Kings-Hants residents are familiar with – Scott Brison, the federal representative, was also originally elected by the Conservatives and later joined the Liberals, and the riding has re-elected him by landslide margins ever since.

Or look at Kings South, which has always been a bellwether riding and has voted the way of the province. If numbers come in early in that riding, it may be a good indicator of which party will form the next government.

Kings West, as well, is a spot to watch. Could the provincial health minister, Leo Glavine, be unseated by one of his challengers? In 2013, Glavine won the seat easily, receiving nearly 75 per cent of the vote and finishing more than 4,600 votes ahead of his next closest challenger. But there are indicators he could be in for a tougher battle this time around and may need to work harder to hold onto the seat he’s had since he was first elected in 2003.

Voter turnout was regrettably low in 2013 – approximately 59 per cent of eligible voters in Nova Scotia cast ballots, a slight increase from the 58 per cent voter turnout in the 2009 election, but a significant drop from the 75 per cent turnout seen as recently as 1993.

Each and every vote counts in this election, whether the individual or party you cast a ballot for on May 30 forms Nova Scotia’s government or not. Voting takes only a few minutes. Take the time on May 30 to have your say.

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