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As it happened: Fresh and familiar faces among MLAs-elect

Shauna Morgan and her supporters celebrate on election night. Samantha Stuart/Cabin Radio

The NWT has chosen the 19 MLAs who’ll make up the territory’s government for the next four years. Cabin Radio provided live results and reaction here.

Results began coming in after polls closed at 8pm or 8:26pm in Dettah. We shared them here the moment they arrived, alongside reaction from candidates across the territory. Ollie also hosted a live election special with results, interviews, guests throughout the night and great music.

We’d love to hear from you. What should the new government make its number-one priority? Where did you turn in from? What was your reaction to results as they arrived? Let us know by email. (If you write to us, we will assume every message is for publication, including your name, unless you state otherwise.)

Reporters that contributed to our coverage includes Ollie Williams, Emily Blake, Simona Rosenfield, Aastha Sethi and Chloe Williams at our studios, Bill Braden and Samantha Stuart with candidates across Yellowknife, and Quinn Levesque and Kleo Skavinski in Hay River.

The latest news appears first. All times are MT.



Live text reporter: Emily Blake

24:18 – Well that’s about it from me tonight. Congratulations to all the candidates, it’s not easy putting your name forward and running an election campaign.

Cabin Radio will have more election reporting in the coming days.

Now to head home to my cat, who is surely angry I haven’t been home for 16 hours.



24:14 – That’s seven incumbents headed back to the legislature from the 19th Assembly (three of whom were acclaimed). Three candidates will be making the jump from municipal to territorial politics. And three candidates who were MLAs prior to the 19th assembly will be headed back to the legislature.

24:11 – Almost all the polls are now in. Here’s who will be making up the 20th Legislative Assembly.

  • Sheryl Yakeleya in Dehcho
  • Julian Morse in Frame Lake
  • Kate Reid in Great Slave
  • RJ Simpson in Hay River North
  • Vince McKay Hay River South
  • Denny Rodgers in Inuvik Boot Lake
  • Lesa Semmler in Inuvik Twin Lakes
  • Caitlin Cleveland in Kam Lake
  • George Nerysoo in Mackenzie Delta
  • Jane Weyallon Armstrong in Monfwi
  • Shane Thompson in Nahendeh
  • Lucy Kuptana in Nunakput
  • Kieron Testart in Range Lake
  • Daniel McNeely in Sahtu
  • Jay MacDonald in Thebacha
  • Richard Edjericon in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh
  • Robert Hawkins in Yellowknife Centre
  • Shauna Morgan in Yellowknife North
  • Caroline Wawzonek in Yellowknife South

24:02 – Twelve of 12 polls reporting in Thebacha. It looks like Jay MacDonald will be heading from Fort Smith council to the legislature with 483 votes. Incumbent Frieda Martselos has 416 and Connie Bonwell has 95.

23:59 – Yellowknife councillor Garett Cochrane speaking to CBC gave advice to new MLAs to make changes.

“People are watching. There’s a lot of expectations. Do something.”

23:50 – Reporter Simona Rosenfield spoke with Sheryl Yakeleya moments before she learned she won the Dehcho seat.

 “My goodness, it’s pretty unbelievable for me,” Yakeleya said. “I’m happy for the people. I’m happy the people went out and voted, whoever voted, whether or not they voted for me. If I get elected, I’ll still be their MLA. So, that’s how I’m feeling right now.”

23:48 – We just got a lovely email from Caitlin Seymour who said she is watching election results all the way from Japan.



“Thank goodness for online voting, because the election period was happening during this vacation. I voted while also sitting on a long train ride a few days ago,” she wrote.

What an age we live in.

23:46 – Shane Thompson speaking with CBC said he has been approached about putting his name forward for the premiership but he has speak to some leaders in the territory before making that decision.

23:44 – Daniel McNeely will take the Sahtu seat. With 14 of 14 polls reporting, he has 372 votes, incumbent Paulie Chinna has 226 and Delphine Pierrot has 207.

23:41 – We’ll also see a new MLA in Hay River South. With 10 of 10 polls reporting, Vince McKay takes the lead with 282 votes, Wally Schumann has 238 and Rocky Simpson has 210.

23:39 – It looks like we’re going to see a new face in the Dehcho seat. With 13 of 13 polls reporting, Sheryl Yakeleya leads with 229 votes, Steven Vandell has 178, incumbent Ron Bonnetrouge has 146 and Richard C Lafferty with 27.

23:37 – Speaking to CBC, former Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson says it can be disheartening to lose an election but tomorrow is another day.

“You just keep putting one foot in front of the other,” he said.



Jacobson congratulated everyone who put their name forward.

23:32 – Anyone else starting to get sleepy? I’m starting to fade here, it’s been a long day.

23:28 – Eight of 12 polls reporting in Great Slave and it’s still a tight race. Kate Reid has the lead with 186 votes closely followed by Stacie Arden Smith with 161, incumbent Katrina Nokleby not far behind with 144, and James Lawrance with 39.

Nine of 12 polls reporting in Thebacha. Jay MacDonald leads with 483 votes, incumbent Frieda Martselos not far behind with 416 and Connie Benwell has 95.

23:22 – Kieron Testart will be headed back to the legislature, this time for Range Lake. With 16 of 16 polls reporting he has 326 votes. Aaron Reid has 155 and Nicole Sok has 109.

Seven of 12 polls now reporting in Great Slave. Kate Reid has the lead with 127 votes, Stacie Arden Smith is close behind with 123, incumbent Katrina Nokleby has 93 and James Lawrance has 19.

Seven of 10 polls in from Inuvik Boot Lake. Denny Rodgers still leads with 201 votes, incumbent Diane Archie has 144, and Sallie Ross has 124.

Six of nine polls in for Mackenzie Delta. George Nerysoo has 224 votes, incumbent Frederick Blake Jr has 214, and Ross Richard Jr has 174.



Thirteen of 17 polls reporting for Nahendeh. Incumbent Shane Thompson leads with 264 votes. Mavis Cli-Michaud has 154, Sharon Allen has 119, Les Wright has 97, Hillary Deneron 67, and Josh Campbell 19.

23:15 – Bill Braden had a second chat with Julian Morse who is currently leading in Frame Lake.

“It doesn’t feel comfortable,” Morse said. “Comfortable is having a solid answer. But ot’s been extremely close, and to be honest with you, I’ve been completely shocked by the results. So it’s been an interesting night, that’s for sure.”

Morse said he saw candidate Stuart Wray, who is currently in the third spot, as “the guy to beat.”

Twelve of 14 polls are reporting in Frame Lake. Morse has 201 votes, Spencer Tracy has 173, Wray has 166, John Stanley has 47 and Deanna Cornfield has 26.

23:10 – Quinn Levesque spoke with Vince McKay, the unofficial winner of Hay River South, taking the seat over two candidates who previously served as the district’s MLA.

“It feels good,” McKay said. “Very good candidates to challenge and I’m happy we all had a good campaign.”

McKay said he will bring his passion for the community of Hay River to the legislature.



“We really need to work on Hay River and concentrate on Hay River and get things happening in Hay River,” he said. “I’m gonna have Hay River on my back at the Legislative Assembly.”

23:04 – Samantha Stuart spoke with Katrina Nokleby, who is seeking re-election in Great Slave.

“I’m feeling pretty good. It’s definitely a different feeling to run as the incumbent and having been through it once before than to be brand new to the whole process,” Nokleby said.

If she is elected, Nokleby said she hopes to focus on getting the Mackenzie Valley Highway built and building a good working relationship with cabinet.

“I just want to say thanks to everybody that supported me through all of this,” she said. “I wasn’t the easiest MLA but I do know that I made it at least interesting and entertaining and I kept the pressure on.”

22:55 – In Hay River North, five of 10 polls are reporting. Incumbent RJ Simpson has the lead with 391 votes, Michael Wallington has 107, Hans Wiedemann has 82 and Greg McMeekin has 14.

Six of eight polls in Inuvik Twin Lakes now reporting. Incumbent Lesa Semmler leads with 316 votes and Lenora McLeod has 127.

Ten of 16 polls reporting in Range Lake. Kieron Testart has 325 votes, Aaron Reid 155 and Nicole Sok 109.



22:49 –Eleven of 13 polls now reporting in Dehcho. Sheryl Yakeleya has the lead with 229 votes, Steven Vendell follows with 175, incumbent Ron Bonnetrouge with 145 and Richard Lafferty with 27.

22:43 – RJ Simpson, who will likely be re-elected in Hay River North, has just told CBC he plans to put his name in the running for premier.

“I’m not here just to sit in the office and do nothing.”

22:42 – Three of 13 polls now reporting in Dehcho. Sheryl Yakeleya has the lead with 185 votes, Steven Vendell has 150, incumbent Ron Bonnetrouge has 131 and Richard Lafferty has 25.

Four of 10 polls reporting in Inuvik Boot Lake. Denny Rodgers has the lead with 201 votes, incumbent Diane Archie with 144 and Sallie Ross with 124.

Eleven of 14 polls reporting in Sahtu. Daniel McNeely in the lead with 367 votes, incumbent Paulie Chinna with 225 and Delphine Pierrot with 200.

22:36 – The next Nunakput MLA will be Lucy Kuptana. With 12 of 12 polls reporting she has 340 votes, with 159 votes for Teddy Vince.

22:34 – Bill Braden spoke with Matt Spence, who is one of three candidates running in Yellowknife Centre. Initial polls put Robert Hawkins in the lead in the district.



“It was a very hard fought race,” Spence said. “I’m surprised at the low turnout because I would have expected with the engagement I got at the door that we would have gotten more people out to vote.”

Spence, who seemed to concede to Hawkins although the results aren’t in just yet, said his focus now will be on ensuring the issues he raised get looked at by the next Assembly.

“I don’t feel badly because I worked as hard as I could,” he said. “There wasn’t a stone I don’t think I left unturned.”

Matt Spence awaits election results for Yellowknife Centre. Bill Braden/Cabin Radio

22:26 – There are now five of 12 polls reporting in Thebacha. Incumbent Frieda Martselos has the lead with 320 votes followed by Jay MacDonald with 272 and Connie Benwell with 64.

22:24 – With early results, it looks like some incumbents, including RJ Simpson, Lesa Semmler and Richard Edjericon, will be heading back to the legislature.

In other cases, it looks like we’ll see some new faces such as Vince McKay in Hay River South.

22:22 – Samantha Stuart spoke with Shauna Morgan, who is likely going to take the Yellowknife North seat, as she takes a significant lead over two other candidates.

“I’m very excited,” Morgan said.



“I definitely want to thank my team. I want to thank my two opponents who made it a good race and showed up to all the debates … And I want to thank the residents of Yellowknife North for having hope for the future.”

Shauna Morgan and her supporters celebrate on election night. Samantha Stuart/Cabin Radio

“It has been extremely intense,” she said of the campaign. “I have a much better sense now of just how many important issues this territory is facing and how much people are invested in us taking new directions, better directions.”

22:13 – In Hay River North, where two of 10 polls are reporting, incumbent RJ Simpson has the lead with 150 votes followed by Michael Wallington with 61, Hans Wiedemann with 34 and Greg McMeekin with six.

In Yellowknife Centre, six of 14 polls are reporting. Robert Hawkins has an early lead with 324 votes, Matt Spence has 230 and Ambe Chenemu has 216.

Still no updates from Dehcho or Thebacha.

22:10 – It looks like Kieron Testart is likely headed back to the assembly. Former Yellowknife councillor Shauna Morgan will likely be making the jump to territorial politics while newcomer Vince McKay will likely take the Hay River South seat.

22:01 – Bill Braden caught up with Spencer Tracy, who is running in Frame Lake, as he awaited election results.

“I think the night is still young,” Tracy said.



“I really enjoyed going door to door. It was great just meeting people in the neighbourhood and hearing their concerns,” he said of campaigning.

Tracy said top of mind issues were cost of living and housing.

Spencer Tracy waits for election results to come in. Bill Braden/Cabin Radio

21:55 – Six of 14 polls are now reporting in Frame Lake. Julian Morse still has an early lead with 201 votes followed by Spencer Tracy with 173, Stuart Wray with 164, John Stanley with 47 and Deanna Cornfield with 26.

Three of eight polls reporting in Inuvik Twin Lakes. Incumbent Lesa Semmler has the lead with 97 votes and Lenora McLeod has 17.

Six of 12 polls are reporting in Nunakput. Lucy Kuptana has a slight lead with 24 votes over Vince Teddy’s 20.

In Range Lake, eight of 16 polls are reporting. Kieron Testart has the lead with 309 votes, Aaron Reid has 147 and Nicole Sok has 103.

Nine of 14 polls reporting in Sahtu. Daniel McNeely has the lead with 253, Delphine Pierrot has 168 and incumbent Paulie Chinna has 152.

Eight of 15 polls in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh. Richard Edjericon has 118 votes and Nadine Delorme has 24.



Seven of 14 polls in Yellowknife North. Shauna Morgan has 659 votes, Bruce Valpy has 332 and Jon Howe has 51.

Ten of 12 polls in Nunakput. Lucy Kuptana leading with 153, Vince Teddy with 65.

Five of 10 polls in Hay River South. Vince McKay leads with 275, Wally Schumann with 224 and incumbent Rocky Simpson with 203.

21:44 – Bill Braden spoke with Stuart Wray, one of five candidates running in Frame Lake. With four of 14 polls reporting in the district, Wray currently has the second most votes, just behind former Yellowknife councillor Julian Morse.

“I think Julian’s been the front runner the whole election. He’s got name value, he was on city council. So he comes with a brand, people know him, right? People like brands, people like re-electing,” Wray said. “I think it’s a tight three-way race between him, Spencer [Tracy], and I.”

If elected, Wray said he wants to focus on housing and bridging the municipal funding gap.

Stuart Wray waits for election results to come in for Frame Lake. Bill Braden/Cabin Radio

21:38 – The latest results:

Two of 17 polls reporting in Nahendeh. Sharon Allen in the lead with 16 votes, incumbent Shane Thompson with 12 votes, Les Wright with nine, Hillary Deneron with five, Josh Campbell with three and none just yet for Mavis Cli-Michaud.



One of 12 polls reporting in Great Slave. Kate Reid has the lead with 50 votes followed closely by Stacie Arden Smith with 48, incumbent Katrina Nokleby with 34 and James Lawrance with five.

Four of 10 polls reporting in Hay River South. Vince McKay has the lead with 275 votes followed by Wally Schumann with 223 and incumbent Rocky Simpson with 202.

Four of 14 polls now reporting in Frame Lake. Julian Morse edges ahead with 123 votes followed by Stuart Wray with 113 votes, Spencer Tracy with 98, John Stanley with 26 and Deanna Cornfield with 15.

Two of 10 polls reporting in Inuvik Boot Lake. Denny Rodgers in the lead with 94 votes, incumbent Diane Archie with 60, and Ross Sallie with 47.

21:29 – Speaking of Jon Howe, now that polls have closed I can share the photo that he sent me when I asked for a campaign picture.

I believe that’s a guinea pig. I wasn’t sure what to do with it at the time, but hopefully it brings you a bit of joy on election night.

21:26 – Some more early election results are coming in.

In Range Lake, two of 16 polls are reporting. Kieron Testart has an early lead with 70 votes followed by Nicole Sok who has 35 votes and Aaron Reid with 28.



In Yellowknife North, five of 14 polls are reporting. Shauna Morgan currently has the lead with 549 votes followed by Bruce Valpy with 280 and Jon Howe with 42.

21:16 – Bill Braden spoke with former Yellowknife city councillor Julian Morse, who is one of five candidates running in Frame Lake.

“It’s a very, very tough riding to call,” he said. “I’m sitting here with bated breath like everybody else.”

If elected, Morse said he has a clear platform with housing as his number one priority. He also said he will advocate for post-secondary renewal.

Julian Morse awaits results for Frame Lake joined by friends and supporters at the Yellowknife curling club. Bill Braden/Cabin Radio

21:10 – Some more initial results for you. Three of nine polls are reporting in Mackenzie Delta.

George Nerysoo is currently in the lead with 177 votes followed by incumbent Frederick Blake Jr with 86 votes and Richard Ross Jr with 61 votes.

21:08 – At his campaign quarters in Yellowknife, Samantha Stuart spoke with Kieron Testart as he waits to see the results for Range Lake. Testart represented Kam Lake in the 18th Legislative Assembly before losing his seat to Caitlin Cleveland.

“It’s been really exciting. We’ve been working really hard with all of our team to run a very confident campaign, a large campaign. A campaign that’s got a lot of support from our neighbourhood,” Testart said. “It’s good to see these results. It’s really heartening to me to earn the trust of Range Lakers going into this next assembly. If things are going to hold this way, I think we’d know which way the results are going to turn.”



Kieron Testart and his team wait for the votes to come in. Samantha Stuart/Cabin Radio

“After they’ve been through so much these last four years, we need new leadership. We need to restore trust in government. We need to get results. I am ready to roll up my sleeves.”

21:05 – Our first results for a Yellowknife district have started rolling in. One of 14 polls is reporting in Frame Lake.

Stuart Wray and Julian Morse are tied in the lead with 36 votes, Spencer Tracy follows with 19 votes, John Stanley with five and Deanna Cornfield with four. It’s still early, but it’s looking like this race could be a close one.

20:59 – More results!

One of 14 polls is reporting in Sahtu with incumbent Paulie Chinna and former MLA Daniel McNeely tied with three votes and Delphine Pierrot close behind with one vote. What a nail biter!

Two of 12 polls is now reporting in Nunakput with 13 votes for Lucy Kuptana and three for Vince Teddy.

20:50 – On the CBC TV special, the panel is talking about whether the next premier should come from outside of Yellowknife.

Former Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson said he’d like to see the next premier come from outside the capital, suggesting Shane Thompson, RJ Simpson (if they are re-elected) or Jane Weyallon Armstrong. He said his favourite premier was Bob McLeod.



Former Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen said who becomes the next premier should not be based on which region they represent.

“It’s too important a job to say it should be strictly tied to their geographic origins,” she said.

20:47 – One of 10 polls is now reporting in Inuvik Boot Lake.

Denny Rodgers is currently in the lead with 54 votes, followed by incumbent Diane Archie with 28 votes and Sallie Ross with 21 votes.

20:45 – Samantha Stuart spoke with Christine Monroe, the digital campaign coordinator for Kieron Testart, who is one of three candidates running in Range Lake.

“I am hoping for good results. It looks like we have had a moderate voter turnout this time. We have seen a lot of our supporters, people who take lawn signs and donate. They have gone out and voted. So we are feeling good today,” Monroe said.

“I feel confident in our data. We have gotten a lot of content information, donations. People we have texted today are reaching out and said, ‘Yes I went and voted.’ Lots of messages of support. Feeling good today.”

20:39 – One of 12 polls is reporting in Nunakput with 11 votes for Lucy Kuptana and one for Vince Teddy.



Seven of 15 polls are reporting in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh with incumbent Richard Edjericon now in the lead with 117 votes and 23 for Nadine Delorme.

20:36 – Election results are starting to come in!

Two of eight polls are reporting in Inuvik Twin Lakes with incumbent Lesa Semmler in the lead with 96 votes and Lenora McLeod with 17.

20:31 – Quinn Levesque spoke to a voter in Hay River about the issues that were top of his mind as he headed to the polls today.

“I think one of the major ones for Hay River, and I’m sure everywhere else in the territories but specifically Hay River, there’s a lot of economic challenges that we’re facing and opportunities. So one thing is that I think a lot of people in Hay River are concerned about whether or not Hay River’s going to stay stable or if it’s going to be able to grow,” said Matthew Lakusta.

“There’s also a lot of concerns, I think in Hay River and again throughout the Northwest Territories, with the growing economic inequality and disparity between those who seem to be able to have wealth and those who don’t. And that is obviously leaking down to individuals on the streets, people not having homes or can’t afford homes, and then also I guess the rise of drug addiction in our communities and seeing how that plays, takes part and causes problems in Hay River.”

20:28 – All election polls have now closed.

20:25 – Bill Braden caught up with Bruce Valpy, one of three candidates running in Yellowknife North, as he had some tea with friends as the polls closed.



“I think it’s a horse race,” he said. “I think we’ve got two good candidates here in Yellowknife North and I’m interested to see which ones the voters have gone with.”

If he ends up being elected, Valpy said he plans to advocate for on-the-land healing in communities and bolstering the economy.

Bruce Valpy waits for the polls to close on election night. Bill Braden/Cabin Radio

20:18 – On CBC’s election TV special (don’t you dare) their panel consisting of former Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson, former Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen and Yellowknife city councillor Garett Cochrane are discussing Caroline Cochrane’s premiership.

Jacobson said while cabinet lacked vision and didn’t push things through when they should have, they also faced fires, floods and the Covid-19 pandemic

“At the end of the day, I still respect her for what she’s done for the people,” he said.

Groenewegen also said Cochrane would have likely accomplished more had she not faced so many crises and emergencies. She said Cochrane also led an assembly with a large number of new and experienced members.

“That’s not easy,” she said.

You can check out our interview with Cochrane, who is not seeking re-election, here.

20:10 – On our live show, Rylund Johnson is breaking down his unofficial and “reasonably unscientific” polling data from some Yellowknifers on who could become the next MLAs in the city. Also joining Ollie is Yellowknife city councillor Tom McLennan.

20:06 – Most election polls across the NWT are now closed, save of course for Dettah where the polling station will remain open until 8:26pm. Results should start coming in soon.

The 2019 election was a historic one, seeing a record nine women elected, the most in the territory’s history, and giving the NWT’s legislature the greatest female representation of any territory or province. The scales tipped in July 2021, when Jane Weyallon Armstrong replaced outgoing Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty, as he sought to become Tłı̨chǫ grand chief, following a by-election.

19:56 – Most election polls are about to close, which means it won’t be too much longer until results come in.

The district with the most candidates is Nahendeh with six candidates, including incumbent Shane Thompson, vying for the seat. Five candidates are running in Frame Lake. Four candidates are running in each the Dehcho, Great Slave, Hay River North. Three candidates are running in Yellowknife North, Yellowknife Centre, Thebacha, Sahtu, Range Lake, Mackenzie Delta, Inuvik Boot Lake and Hay River South. And two candidates are running in Inuvik Twin Lakes, Nunakput, and Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh.

19:40 – Reporter Quinn Levesque has chatted with RJ Simpson, the incumbent and one of four candidates running in Hay River North, before polling results begin rolling in.

“It has been a lot of long days, but it is exciting. It is good to get back to speaking with constituents day after day after day. When you are an MLA and you are dealing with all of those issues, especially being a minister, you do not get as much face time as you would like. So I actually really enjoyed just sitting down at peoples’ tables and having chats,” Simpson said.

“I just hope everyone gets out there and votes. It doesn’t matter who you are voting for, just get out there and vote. I appreciate that we have a lot of candidates running right now in Hay River. It has gotten people talking and thinking about politics, which I think is a good thing. Hopefully that conversation keeps going after the election as well.”

19:33 – “Everyone running for MLA is just a person.”

Ollie is now joined on the live show by former Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson, who is not running for re-election. Once the polls close, we’ll hear the results of his unofficial poll from some Yellowknifers.

19:25 – Speaking of election forums, by my count, there were 18 different election forums held across the NWT this election season including 13 in Yellowknife.

Some focused on specific districts while others were centred on election issues such as Dene Nahjo’s Indigenous focused forum or the Northern Territories Federation of Labour and PSAC North’s forum which focused on the labour movement.

I watched three different forums before I voted. Unfortunately Cabin Radio wasn’t able to cover all the forums as we are a small team and there were nearly two dozen of them. How did election forums help inform your vote?

19:17 – Ollie’s interview with Caitlin Cleveland, who has been acclaimed in Kam Lake, is currently airing live. You can also check out the written version here.

Cleveland has also just shared a post on Facebook congratulating everyone running in this year’s election for “standing in this election, participating in forums, surveys, door knocking and all of the self-reflection that goes with it.”

Her one piece of advice?

Don’t wear your pajamas because “Cabin Radio will find you if you are voted in and you will want to be wearing pants!”

19:09 – This year, the territory is using what it calls a trial “vote anywhere” model. That means voters from smaller communities can cast a ballot for their home district even if they’re in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith or Inuvik. People are also able to vote by mobile poll or in advance online, by mail, or at offices of the returning officer.

So what happens after voting is over?

Polling results will trigger a recount if a winner is separated from another candidate by less than two percent of the total votes cast in a district, or if candidates appear to have tied.

As NWT has a consensus-style government rather than political parties (although some people have pushed for that to change) we won’t immediately know who becomes the next premier or other members of cabinet.

Once 19 new (or in some cases returning) MLAs have been elected, they will form what’s called a Territorial Leadership Committee. Through what is usually a system of secret ballots, they will first choose a premier and then six other members of cabinet. The new premier will then assign portfolios to the cabinet members or which departments they will be ministers of.

There is nothing in NWT’s legislation that determines the size and composition of cabinet or the process to recommend the appointment of the premier or ministers.

But in practice, cabinet has consisted of two members from constituencies north of Great Slave Lake, two from constituents south of Great Slave Lake, and two from Yellowknife, also known as the 2-2-2 rule. Under that process, nominees are accepted from each region then each nominee delivers a ten minute speech. Then a series of ballots take place until two nominees from each region get a majority of votes from their fellow MLAs.

Residents and candidates in some smaller communities maintain that who becomes premier should be circulated between regions. But the premier has been based in Yellowknife since 2011.

18:53 – Me hearing Ollie say election night isn’t that long:

18:41 – Ollie is chatting about getting to vote for the first time in his life, since he is now a Canadian citizen. “I had a whale of a time.”

That’s the power of democracy folks.

Speaking of which, today I saw a vehicle driving around Yellowknife blasting music from a stereo on its roof and towing a sign reading “vote.” If you haven’t cast your ballot yet there’s still time. Polls close at 8pm, or 8:26pm in Dettah.

18:36 – In the grand tradition of newsrooms everywhere during elections, we’re eating pizza here at the Cabin Radio office tonight. My greatest decision of the night was being tasked with determining which of the eight restaurants that make pizza in Yellowknife to order from and which toppings to get.

How are you spending election night? (Other than watching and listening to Cabin Radio of course).

18:30 – In the last NWT general election in October 2019, there were 55 candidates running in 16 districts. Three candidates were acclaimed: RJ Simpson in Hay River North, Frederick Blake Jr in Mackenzie Delta and Jackson Lafferty in Monfwi.

That election saw a 53 percent voter turnout with 23 percent of ballots cast ahead of election day.

Need a refresher on what happened in the legislature over the past four years or weren’t really paying attention (side eye)? Check out our story on some of the defining moments of the 19th Legislative Assembly, how several former MLAs see its legacy, and lessons for the next batch of territorial politicians.

18:16 – Polls are set to close at 8pm, save for the polling station in Dettah which will remain open until 8:26pm as it had a delayed start this morning.

If you haven’t cast your ballot yet and are looking for information on candidates in your district you can check out our guide to who’s running including interviews with candidates.

You can also check out our election guide.

If you’re like me, you may have voted in advance whether online, by mail or at an office of the returning officer. Elections NWT said as of Monday 2,795 people had already cast their vote.

Just a little reminder that while polls are open, liquor stores will remain closed in the NWT, and you cannot be served liquor or cannabis anywhere you’d normally buy it.

18:06 – Tonight 53 candidates are running in 16 districts including 11 incumbents and three candidates who were MLAs prior to the 19th Legislative Assembly.

Three incumbents have already been acclaimed as they ran unopposed: Caroline Wawzonek in Yellowknife South, Jane Weyallon Armstrong in Monfwi and Caitlin Cleveland in Kam Lake.

You can check out our interview with Wawzonek here and Cleveland here.

18:00 – Hi everyone. Thanks for joining the Cabin crew on election night. On this page we’ll be sharing live updates as election results roll in, photos of how candidates are spending election night across the NWT, interview quotes, commentary and more. You can also listen to Ollie’s live election special with some special guests.