Elections Canada is rolling out an advance poll pilot project at Swan Lake First Nation during this Portage-Lisgar by-election.
According to Matthew McKenna, spokesperson for Elections Canada, recent changes to the Elections Act now allow flexibility for shorter-period advanced polls to be held.

"(This) is particularly useful in certain remote communities, like Swan Lake," he said. "Historically, having to do four days of advance polls and find all the workers you need and space that would be available for four days, it wasn't always feasible in smaller communities. So, having this flexibility to do a shorter-period poll means that we can have voting opportunities on first nations and remote communities and are, hopefully, a little bit more convenient for members of those communities."


As a result, a one-day advance poll is happening today at Swan Lake First Nation at the community centre from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.

"Electors who are in Swan Lake who got a voter information card, they won't see that voting opportunity on the card," noted McKenna. However, he points them to the Elections Canada website where a special page has been created solely for this particular poll. 

The hope, added McKenna, is to expand this pilot to other first nations and remote communities in the future.

"The important thing for us is to really take from this experience and other work we'll do, consult with communities and find out what works best for them. That's really priority number 1."


Voters can also cast their ballot at other advance polls taking place off-reserve until 9 p.m. tonight. Another poll will also be set up in Swan Lake on by-election day, June 19th.

Meantime, advance polls happening elsewhere across Portage-Lisgar close today at 9 p.m.

Candidates in the running, listed in order according to the Elections Canada website, are:

Max Bernier representing the People's Party of Canada; Nicolas Geddert for the Green Party of Canada; Branden Leslie for the Conservative Party of Canada; Kerry Smith for the Liberal Party of Canada and Lisa Tessier-Burch for the New Democratic Party.

By-election day is Monday, June 19th.


Written with files from Chris Sumner