The first day of advance voting is behind us and the second is well underway. Here are a few brief reminders for you.
Advance Voting Update
We had 24,602 voters cast their ballot on the first day of advance voting; this compares to 16,096 who voted at the first day of advance voting for the 2011 general election – this is an increase of 53 percent.
We know that several advance voting places—principally in urban areas—experienced lineups during the start of advance voting. We were monitoring the situation carefully and, deployed additional teams of election officials where needed. In total, we dispatched 24 additional teams who had been on call if additional capacity was required. As per legislation, these additional workers will be at polling locations throughout the rest of the advance voting period, even if demand diminishes.
This is the first election in which advance voting is open to all voters (not just those with a legislatively-defined reason). Interestingly, the numbers of advance voters varied quite dramatically between constituencies on the first day of advance voting. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully, adapt, and send out teams as necessary.
Note that I do not plan contact you every day with advance voting numbers, but will include them if I am sending other messages. You can, however, find advance voting turnout numbers on our website at http://www.elections.sk.ca/election-results/ by 1 p.m. after each day of advance voting ends.
Candidate Representatives - Reminder
Overall, I am very pleased with the interactions of our election workers and your candidate representatives. But I do have a few quick reminders:
- Candidate representatives must wear ID at all times and it must be visible;
- A candidate representative must be sworn in at every polling location they attend;
- Please ask your candidate representatives not to socialize with voters inside of the polling location;
- Candidate representatives cannot physically handle the poll book, they can only view it;
- If a candidate representative needs to communicate or pass information to someone from outside the polling location, they must leave the voting area to do so.
Personal Electronics in Polling Locations
Per The Election Act, 1996, no personal electronics (including cameras and video cameras) are permitted for use inside a voting place. That said, we want to provide some flexibility to our media partners as they do their work, while at the same time protecting the secrecy of the ballot and the privacy of the voting public. This flexibility was communicated to the media in this news release yesterday: www.elections.sk.ca/media/news-releases/reminders-for-media-on-election-day/. I would note that when the Act was amended in 2014, I was given the authority to allow for such use of personal electronics inside of polling locations.
While we are on the topic of personal electronics, I would like to issue a reminder to all of your candidates and candidate’s representatives that their use of such devices is prohibited. I have issued the same instructions to all of our election officials – the use of smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc. is all prohibited, even if there are no voters inside the polling location.
Party Leaders and Media Coverage
The media may request to videotape or photograph your party leader as they cast their ballot. If any member of the media has a request to bring their photography or video equipment inside a voting place, I would ask that they contact Tim Kydd, Senior Director, Outreach and Policy, and we will consider all requests on an individual basis. Some essential rules for media inside a voting place:
- They are allowed behind the information officer, but are not to go behind the table where the ballot box rests with the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) and poll clerk;
- Media are not allowed to be behind the voting screen at any time;
- Media are to finish their assignment with the party leader, and then exit the voting place. They are not allowed to video or photograph other voters, nor interview voters inside the voting place.
I would appreciate if you could notify Tim (firstname.lastname@example.org or 306.787.7355) or me about when and where your party leader is voting. In turn, we will notify the election officials at that polling place and make appropriate arrangements with our Field Leadership Team. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us.
Thank you for your attention to these matters.