The province has introduced amendments to the Elections Act that will change the way some Nova Scotia candidates are reimbursed for provincial election expenses. “Standing for election is a significant financial burden for candidates and many pay expenses from personal funds,” said Angus MacIsaac, acting Minister responsible for the Elections Act. “This is one way to encourage more Nova Scotians to run for office.” At present, only candidates receiving more than 15 per cent of the popular vote are reimbursed for some or all of their election expenses, according to regulations. The amendments propose to add a system of graduated reimbursement for candidates receiving between 13 per cent and 15 per cent of the valid votes cast. The amendments are effective for the June 13, 2006, general election, when the issue was first raised. A total of seven candidates received between 13 and 15 per cent of the vote, but did not qualify for reimbursement. The amendment is one of a series of measures undertaken by the province in the last year to promote participation and citizen engagement in the democratic process. Other amendments proposed give the chief electoral officer the authority to permit visitors into polling stations for educational purposes, where appropriate. Also, the province is proposing minor modifications to the structure and authority of the Nova Scotia Election Commission.