New Brunswick — It’ll be nearly two weeks before we hear the results of Monday’s election.
Due to lockdowns in some areas of the province, certain residents will have until May 25 to vote. Until that time, all ballots will be kept in a secure location until they are ready to be counted as a whole. This unexpected hiccup has left many municipalities wondering what to do until that time.
“The problem is that right now, some candidates would be actively engaged in a role for which they were not elected,” said Chief Electoral Officer Carri Palmer. “More than once we’ve joked that we wish we could just freeze time until late May.”
But, from this joke, came an idea.
“We may not be able to freeze time,” she explained, with a wry smile. “But the candidates…”
Working quickly, and with the benefit of the province’s unseasonably cold weather, the election commission was able to quickly develop suspended animation chambers made with recycled oil drums, and programmed using the same system as the Saint John Parking Commission.
“It’s kind of like the opening to that movie, Alien,” she said. “Only significantly cheaper.”
Palmer said that when the idea was initially pitched the candidates, they were not all immediately on board.
“There was some pushback at first, sure, but like most politicians, they all folded once it came to the bottom line,” she said.
She took reporters down to see the chambers, located in the basement of the New Brunswick Legislative building. There, every candidate was frozen in a thick block of ice housed in metal cylinders.
All of the machines appeared to be working, except for that of incumbent councillor David Hickey, which sprung a leak early in the process, but was quickly taped over using plastic Sobeys bags.
“He’s going to hate that when he wakes up,” said Palmer, chuckling to herself. “Well, if he wakes up. This whole thing is kind of a crapshoot. We have no idea if any of this actually works.”