Jennifer Campeau resigned as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the constituency of Saskatoon Fairview effective yesterday. This means, of course, that a by-election must be held within six months, meaning before the end of December, 2017.
I’m sending along the first issue of our Saskatoon Fairview By-Election Communiques for Chief Official Agents. You will find the content similar to what we shared during the recent Meewasin by-election but please be aware that there will also be constituency-specific material that will be of benefit to you, your party and your candidates. As always, I would encourage you to share these Communiques throughout your registered political party.
When we met at our annual gathering in Regina a few weeks back, I stressed how important it is for an election management body to use the opportunities a by-election presents to test new processes and procedures. While we are still finalizing some details, here are our planned innovations for this by-election. Many are similar to what we did in Meewasin but with small variations or scope changes. Should any of this change substantially or if items are added, we will let you know through a communique.
- Conduct further testing of a parallel process for e-poll books at advance polls – As we did in Meewasin, we are planning to run a parallel process at advance polls using an e-poll book application alongside the traditional poll book maintained by the poll clerk (which, as required by legislation, will serve as the official record of the election). This time we will incorporate scanning technology from the Voter Information Cards to see how this affects service levels and voter processing time.
- Test FLT Intranet – At our meeting, I offered some insight on an Intranet site that we have developed to share information with our Field Leadership Team. During this by-election, we will make that site live and begin using it to communicate with the returning officer and election clerk as well as share content such as manuals and forms.
- Pilot E-Transfer for election worker pay – We were unable to test this during the last event, but in the months since we have made significant progress and will be able to offer this innovation to election workers in Saskatoon Fairview. Currently, all election workers must be paid by cheque. The e-transfer process will offer both cost savings and efficiencies for workers and for Elections SK.
- Pilot fabric ballot bags for mobile polls – Once again, we will use the fabric ballot bags for mobile polls that I demonstrated for some of you in Saskatoon earlier this year. Early reviews from our election workers were positive but we will test once again to determine whether any changes are required if these were to be used during a general election.
- Implementing a new poll opening placemat for election workers – We are always trying to make processes easier for our election workers. We only have a few hours to train them in a number of complicated tasks and activities that, by legislation, must be completed correctly and accurately. We have developed a “placemat” that will serve as a visual guide for workers on the steps that must be completed when a poll is opened. We believe this will help to ensure certain processes – such as sealing the ballot box and administration of oaths – are completed correctly.
- Electronic Registration at Personal Care Homes – We introduced this as an innovation during the Meewasin by-election. The response to the use of a laptop and printer to register voters on-site and provide Voter Information Cards in real time in personal care homes was very well-received. Moving forward, we plan to make this our regular practice for personal care home voter registration at all by-elections and in the next general election, but I have included it in this list of innovations for your convenience.
Saskatoon Fairview Constituency Maps
The constituency map for Saskatoon Fairview will be the same that was used during the April 2016 general election – all polling divisions are unchanged. Given this, Elections Saskatchewan will not be printing constituency maps for political parties or candidates for the by-election. Should you need to print large-scale maps, we have a list of printers who offer this service on our website at http://www.elections.sk.ca/voters/maps/. Please contact our office if you run into any issues.
As always, if you have questions or comments, please be in touch. If you have any ideas for things we could do differently to serve you better, we would be glad to hear them.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan