Members of the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I. are now selecting who will lead the party into the next provincial election.
Voting for the party’s leadership began Friday and will run until the leadership convention Saturday, Feb. 9 at Eastlink Centre.
In a first for an Island political party, members are voting for the leader electronically by using secure personal identification numbers (PINs).
Michael Drake said, that as of Sunday afternoon, just under 800 members had voted.
“There has been a fairly steady stream of people taking the opportunity to vote,” said Drake, spokesperson the P.E.I. PC Leadership Convention Committee. “We expected some people may have a learning curve, but they really appear to be taking to (electronic voting).”
Secure PINs were emailed to party members last week, while those who did not have an email address will receive a PIN through Canada Post.
Drake said the majority of members are voting from home computers or smartphones.
However, members can also vote at the PC office located at 30 Pond St. in Charlottetown. Drake asked that those who wish to vote at the office call ahead at 902-629-8670 to ensure a trained party volunteer would be available at the site.
In total, the party could see more than 8,000 potential members vote for the leadership.
Drake said there was a genuine excitement among party volunteers to see that the electronic voting process was working.
“It’s the first time it’s been done and it’s really gratifying to see how people want to interact with their democracy,” said Drake. “It’s created an excitement to watch the process unfold but also excitement to take part in something that’s brand new.”
The PC leader will be chosen by a ranked ballot on Saturday. There are five candidates for the leadership: Kevin Arsenault, Allan Dale, Shawn Driscoll, Dennis King and Sarah Stewart-Clark.