April 19, 2016: Writ Period Bulletin for Field Leadership Team

This issue of the Writ Period Bulletin for Field Leadership Team includes the following articles:

  • A Note from the Chief Electoral Officer;
  • Return to the Writ;
  • Donating Small Appliances Purchased for Your Office; and
  • Mail Forwarding.

A Note from the Chief Electoral Officer – On the Home Stretch

With the Final Count completed late on Saturday, we were able to fulfill our legislative requirement of providing what are known as ‘final’ results to our stakeholders.  In doing so, the ‘preliminary’ count conduct on election night was verified and an additional 7,538 absentee, hospital and remand ballots were counted, increasing our turnout rate for the final results to 57.83 percent of registered voters from the 56.83 percent of registered voters recorded during the preliminary count. 

It is interesting to note that, when comparing turnout based on the number of registered voters to that in 2011, there has been a marked decrease in the figure from 66.7 percent.  But this was due to the fact that our registration coverage in the province increased by about 150,000 voters—our methods for registration are improving.  In turn, when comparing 2011 to 2016 turnout using eligible voters instead, turnout actually increased in 2016, increasing from 51.1 percent to 52.4 percent.

Fundamentally, Saskatchewan’s voters could not have participated in our election without you and the effort that you offered behind the scenes this past weekend.  While the Final Count was not heralded with the same amount of public recognition as on election night, it was equally important as it establishes more accurate and historical figures that are combined with new votes that we could not count until the Final Count.

‘Preliminary’ and ‘Final’ results have been posted on our website at http://results.elections.sk.ca but I wanted you also to know that ‘Official’ results—which include more comprehensive figures with respect to the election, including poll-by-poll results—will not be available until the Statement of Votes is published this coming fall as part of my legislative reporting requirements.

While there are still eight days before the end of the writ period, a large portion of your work has come to an end. The possibility of a recount still exists, in which case Head Office will offer you comprehensive support throughout the process. Beyond that, the Return to the Writ needs to take place on April 27 – and we will offer comprehensive instructions in advance of that date to ensure you can complete that task efficiently.

You are on the home stretch of your service. On Sunday, we offered you some preliminary information on our next Conference of Saskatchewan Election Officials. I look forward to meeting with you all once again at that time and sharing the highs and lows of your election period.

Thank you again.

Michael

Return to the Writ

The last major “event” on the election calendar is the Return to the Writ process. By legislation, the Return to the Writ takes place 23 days after election day, or Wednesday, April 27.

Despite its name, the Return to the Writ does not consist solely of returning the Writ of Election to the Chief Electoral Officer. Rather, the Return to the Writ is a process that formally concludes the election in your constituency. The legislation is clear that this process must not be completed until 23 days after the election.

Later this week, you will be provided with detailed instructions on how to complete the Return to the Writ. In the meantime, as you are packing up your office, please set the following items aside, they need to be included as part of the Return to the Writ:

  • The Writ of Election that was sent to you on March 8 (both the official and the unofficial version)
  • The E-405 Nomination Papers (including the E-517 Declaration of a Candidate’s Affiliation)
  • The E-117 Affidavit of Printer
  • Any unpaid invoices
  • Your Imprest Account Chequebook.

As mentioned, detailed information, including a checklist, will be provided to you later this week.

Donating Small Appliances Purchased for Your Office

You may have needed to purchase small appliances for your returning office. Following the end of the writ period, you need to dispose of the purchased appliance by donating it to a charity, service club, community association, club, etc. Attached is the form you will need to complete when donating a small appliance. For more information, refer to page 38 of the Finance and Administration manual. If you cannot find a group interested in taking the purchased appliance, it must be returned to Elections SK for appropriate disposal.

Mail Forwarding

Beginning May 1, 2016, all mail that would normally be sent to returning offices will be automatically forwarded to Elections SK’s head office.

Each RO – especially those with offices located in malls, business parks or other locations without direct access to either a mailbox or a mail carrier who comes directly to them – will need to ensure that they can collect mail until May 1.

Each of you need to make arrangements with Canada Post to ensure that you can continue to receive mail. You have several possible options to accomplish this:

  • Visit your local post office and ask them to hold all mail until it can be forwarded to Elections SK head office;
  • Arrange with your local post office to have pick up mail directly from the post office;
  • Set up a temporary post office box; or
  • Have mail redirected to your home up to, and including, April 30, 2016.

Any additional expenses that arise due to these arrangements can be charged to your P-Card. If you have any questions about your options for mail arrangements, please contact Joan Hayes by email at joan.hayes@elections.sk.ca, or by phone at (306) 787-4012.