07/14/2015 10:25 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 01:12 EDT

Advance voting lower in three Nova Scotia byelections than in general election

HALIFAX — Voter turnout appears to be lower in three Nova Scotia byelections being held today than in the last general election.

Results show advance voting is down sharply in Dartmouth South, with 1,555 ballots cast compared to 2,684 during the last general election in 2013.

Voting is also low in the ridings of Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier, with both showing about 77 per cent of the turnout in 2013.

The Cape Breton ridings of Sydney-Whitney Pier and Cape Breton Centre were previously held by the NDP, while the Dartmouth riding has been vacant since the death of Liberal member Allan Rowe in March.

Jeff MacLeod, chair of political and Canadian studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, says the byelections will put Premier Stephen McNeil's spring budget to the test.

He says if the government were to lose the race in Dartmouth South, which was previously held by the Liberals, it would be a clear indication that fortunes are changing for the party.

The Canadian Press