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Voters in the district of St. George’s-Stephenville East are off to the polls today in a rare summer vote. The byelection became necessary after long-time Tory cabinet minister Joan Shea left public life.

At the time Shea stepped aside, there were questions about her timing, but she had obviously lost support in her district and was under constant pressure about how she was serving the people who had elected her.

Back to the present, it’s going to take a special effort on behalf of all voters to do their public duty and mark their X this time around.

Besides taking place in August when many are on vacation and there are plenty of other activities that can get in the way, the people of the district are voting for an MHA who will sit for barely a few months.

A new premier will take over in September and that means a general election will have to be called within a year of his swearing in.

There hasn’t been much to fire up voters in this byelection but there is sure to be plenty of interest shown by those in backrooms who are strategizing for the general election that will follow.

The ruling Tories are on a losing streak, and conversely, the Liberals have won three byelections in a row.

The St. George’s-Stephenville East results later today will give a good indication whether the PCs have convinced voters they have remade their image.

The Liberals and NDP, meanwhile, will be able to glean from the results whether they have a message that is being accepted by the masses.

Geographic location: Stephenville East

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