The writ period has been underway for a number of days now. At Elections Saskatchewan, it’s an exciting time as many processes planned since our previous general election are unfolding. 61 writs of election and proclamations have been shipped and are now in place, voter information cards are in the mail stream, and our training involving more than 10,000 election officials will soon begin. As always, here are a few important messages for Chief Official Agents. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me or Jennifer Colin with any questions.
CEO Directive on Emergency Provision in Nomination Process
You will know that the Chief Electoral Officer offers from time-to-time CEO Directives to provide clarity on how Elections SK will implement electoral events. A CEO Directive (CEODIR-2016-001) on the nomination process is attached. Please forward this directive to your candidates.
Section 44(8) of The Election Act, 1996 provides that a returning officer, “…may, in the case of an emergency accept a nomination paper by fax, if the originals and the deposit,” are provided to the Returning Officer within 48 hours of the deadline. This directive offers additional clarification on how Elections Saskatchewan will operate in this context.
Please note that while this provision exists in legislation and a directive is being provided, I urge your candidates to contact their Returning Officer well in advance of the nomination deadline (Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m.) to schedule an appointment to review the nomination package. Any submissions under section 44(8) of the Act will be reviewed and if they do not meet the requirements, the individual’s candidacy will be rejected. Questions about this directive, or the nomination process can be directed to Jennifer Colin at Jennifer.Colin@elections.sk.ca or 306.787.4061.
CEO Directives on Financial Matters
Attached are four additional CEO Directives that clarify and offer additional direction on matters related to the financial and accounting requirements of your candidates and their business managers. The directives cover the following three topics:
- Recognition of expenses for use of cell phones (CEODIR-2016-002);
- Recognition of expenses of computers and computer equipment (CEODIR-2016-003);
- Recognition of expenses of capital assets (CEODIR-2016-004); and
- Consideration of requirements for auditors under The Election Act, 1996 in light of changes to The Accounting Profession Act (CEODIR-2016-005).
I would appreciate it if you would forward these directives to your candidates and their business managers. If you have questions regarding any of these directives, please contact Jennifer Colin.
Maximum Number of Polling Stations - Exceptions
The Election Act, 1996 offers clear instruction on the composition of polling stations and locations. At times, operationalizing those instructions in the facilities available to us is difficult or impossible. In general, following the instructions of the Act, we try to ensure no polling location hosts more than six polling stations. However, section 36(4) allows me, as Chief Electoral Officer, to approve exceptions to this rule. With that in mind, and to assist with your planning, I have attached a document that lists every polling location that we have currently identified as hosting more than six polling stations. I realize the language around “polling locations” versus “polling stations” can be confusing – if it helps, think of a polling location as the room or building voting takes place in, and the polling station to be the tables (or individual ballot boxes) which represent a separate poll.
Polling Location Changes – Steps to Inform
It is very rare to find elections where polling locations do not change within the writ period—particularly in larger jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan. We know well that polling location changes have an impact on number of components of the election – our election proclamations, VICs, the polling location lists we provided to you, to mention just three. These changes will also have an impact on your campaign activities. I want to communicate these changes in a timely, coordinated manner. Please know that (1) our Returning Officers have been instructed to make all reasonable efforts to personally inform nominated candidates of any polling location changes; and (2) I will formally send you notice of changes through a Communique.
Importantly, we will also take steps to inform voters of polling location changes. This will be achieved in a number of ways. If time allows, we will prepare and hand deliver a notice of polling location changes to affected houses. We will also post a notice on the former location, indicating where voters should go to vote and a contact number for more information. If necessary, an election official will stay at the location and direct voters to the correct location.
Returning Office Contact Information – Corrections
On Tuesday, March 8, I sent contact information (Version 1.0) for all 61 of our returning offices with our communique. We have identified several corrections: (1) The phone number for the Saskatoon Westview Returning Office was listed as 306.956.9828, but should be 306.956.8928; (2) The address for the Melville-Saltcoats returning office was listed as 112 Wells Avenue, Langenburg, but should instead be 112 Wells Avenue East, Langenburg; (3) The fax numbers for the constituencies of Regina Rochdale, Regina Rosemont, and Regina Walsh Acres were transposed – all have been updated on the attached list (Version 2.0). Please update your own lists and contacts accordingly.