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Research open for 2019 N.L. election

Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador are going to the polls today to choose the next provincial government and decide whether Liberal Leader Dwight Ball will have a second term as prime minister.

On the island, polls opened at 8 am and will remain open until 8 pm.

In Labrador, the polls open at 7:30 am and will remain open until 7:30 p.m.

Those who seek to oust Ball include the Progressive Conservatives under the command of Ches Crosbie, who entered the province's politics a little over a year ago.

New Democrat Alison Coffin, who won the lead of her unchallenged party in March, and NL Alliance leader Graydon Pelley, who formed her party just a month before calling the election, are also on the polls for their first elections.

There are a number of districts where races will be interesting to watch, including two popular independents – and ex-liberals – running like occupants.

Campaign confident ball

Ball, who voted in his Humber-Gros Morne district early Thursday morning, said he feels good and has called for voter support to continue his work in government.

"Everyone recognizes the challenges we face and this campaign has been a lot about it," he said.

"But [Newfoundland and Labrador] it's a better place today, it's a better province today with a better future because of what we've been doing for the past 3 1/2 years. "

Liberal leader Dwight Ball voted in Deer Lake Thursday. (CBC)

Ball said the province's political landscape had changed in the past three-and-a-half years and was delighted with the way the Liberals ran their campaign.

"By reflecting on this campaign, however, there have probably been some of the dirtiest policies I've ever seen," he said.

"We've done a good and clean campaign with a large and experienced team. People have a choice today."

Ball said he will spend the rest of the day in his district before visiting liberal candidates in Corner Brook.

Crosbie staying as a leader even if PCs lose

Crosbie said he was happy with his party's campaign after voting in the morning and was outraged when asked if he would continue as a leader even if the party failed to form the government.

"Absolutely," he told reporters. "This is not a short-term show, I promised to rebuild the party and bring the party to power, that's what I'll do."

PC leader Ches Crosbie speaks to reporters after voting. (Mark Quinn / CBC)

He said the campaign was complex, but he felt comfortable with it.

"I think we've done it more or less right. There's always a flaw or slip in a campaign."

Crosbie said that no matter the outcome, it has been "a great education" to learn from voters about the issues that are important to them.

The PC leader said he will spend the rest of the day making a few phone calls and visiting the campaign headquarters, and has two speeches prepared – just in case.

Coffin and Pelley voted in advanced research last week.

Helen Walsh voted for St. Pius X Parish in St. John's. (Lukas Wall / CBC)

With the opening of the polls, several voters attended the parish of St. Pius X in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi.

Helen Walsh said it was difficult to choose a candidate.

"They are all the same to me and you do not know who to believe in," she said.

"[I’m] kind of saying eeny, meeny, miny, moe ".

Kelly Davis says the provincial election was called very quickly. (Lukas Wall / CBC)

Kelly Davis voted in the Monte Scio district. She said she was "not impressed" with Ball's election in mid-April and felt that it was unfair to both voters and candidates.

"For me, it's a bit sneaky, to be honest. I'm usually very optimistic and a concerned citizen. This time I feel apathetic and uninformed about the election," she said.

"I feel a little cheated, you know? I feel like I've jumped [on voters]"

Davis said the election happened so quickly that she could not meet her candidates or study the platforms.

"I feel like I'm coming in and voting blindly."

Karen Best voted to change on Thursday in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Jacob Barker / CBC)

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Karen Best marked her vote with the intention of changing the status quo.

She said that violence against women and indigenous land issues are her two highest priorities, and she does not think the previous Liberal government has done enough to rectify them.

"We are in dire need of change," she said. "Absolutely."

An incredible feeling

Odily Onyia became a Canadian citizen last year and said that it was amazing to vote for the first time in Canada.

Onyia said the vote is very different in this province than where he grew up in Nigeria, and he is happy to know that his vote will make a difference.

"Looks like [a] the vote does not count because of much corruption. Sometimes people lose their lives in voting booths or they will vote and return home [after going] through the hospital, is quite discouraging, "he said.

"But look here, no police, no armed forces, no one around."

Onyia encouraged people in Newfoundland and Labrador to vote as well, saying that makes a difference.

In the November 2015 election, the total number of votes was 200,834, with a turnout of 55.3%.

Elections Newfoundland and Labrador opened polling stations at 8 am, giving people 12 hours to mark their ballots.

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador will be covering live on all platforms tonight.

Here now begins at 6pm NT on TV, on and YouTube, and will continue through the night with live coverage. The election special will also be on the radio.

The online broadcast on Facebook will begin at 7:00 p.m. NT.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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