This FLT Writ Period Bulletin includes important information related to a package of documents that will be couriered to you in advance of the Return to the Writ:
A Note from the Chief Electoral Officer – Return to the Writ
Coming at the end of the election calendar, the importance of the Return to the Writ can get lost in the busyness of packing your office and the general tiredness that you feel after a long election period. That being said, it is important to remember exactly what this process represents and the effect it has on our province.
Yesterday, I met with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. On Wednesday, April 27, after I receive visual confirmation from all 61 of you that you have signed the E-148S and formally “returned” a candidate to the Legislature, I need to provide the Clerk with a listing of the 61 candidates that have been elected. Once the Clerk has this letter, and not before, he will begin working with the government and opposition caucuses to schedule a formal oath ceremony. For Members of the Legislative Assembly, especially those who have won their first election, the oath ceremony is an important event. It takes place in the Chambers of the Legislative Assembly and after each Member takes their Oath, they are allowed to take their seat in the Chamber. This is an important event that MLAs invite their family and friends to observe – and it cannot take place until I receive confirmation from all of you that a candidate has been formally elected.
Given the technology available to us, and the speed with which communication can take place, the Return to the Writ may seem like an unnecessary formality. I do believe, however, that it is important to think more broadly than the paperwork you and I need to complete to the impact it has on our MLAs, both new and returning, and their families.
The process we are finishing up will help shape the future of our province for the next four years. Thank you in advance for helping to complete this importance process.
Detailed Instructions on the Return to the Writ
The Return to the Writ takes place 23 days after election day, or Wednesday, April 27. As mentioned earlier this week, the Return to the Writ is the process that formally concludes the election in your constituency. A package has been sent out today by courier from Head Office with the documents you need to complete this process. While you cannot complete this process before Wednesday, April 27 it would be a good idea to complete all of this work early on that day.
The following items must be sent, by registered mail, (please use your P-card to pay for all postage) by the Returning Officer to the Chief Electoral Officer on Wednesday, April 27:
At the end of this bulletin, you will find a checklist detailing all of the items that need to be included as part of the Return to the Writ and suggestions on packing them. You will need to go to a post office in order to mail the package back to head office – you can pay for the postage using your P-Card.
More on The Writ of Election
On March 8, the CEO couriered the official Writ of Election for your constituency to you. At that time, you signed and dated the front of the Writ. When you send the Writ of Election back to the Chief Electoral Officer, you must sign and date the back of the document in the appropriate place. The date must read April 27, 2016.
When you received your official Writ of Election, you also a display version of the Writ. These display version must be sent back to Head Office along with the official version of the Writ. You can package both of these documents in the pre-addressed envelope that came with the Writ of Election – detailed packing instructions are included below. On Wednesday, April 27, before sealing the writ in the envelope, it is essential that you take a picture of both the front and the back of the completed writ and text the images to 1.306.530.4398.
More on the E-148 and the E-148S
On the evening of the Final Count, you submitted a signed copy of the E-148; E-148 “Statement of Returning Officer respecting Votes Cast and Ballot Papers Used at the Polling Places” and the E-148S “Statement of Returning Officer respecting Votes Cast and Ballot Papers Used at the Polling Places (Summary Sheet)” to Head Office electronically. Submitting this information was important as it tested processes in ESPREE and verified that all steps required to take place at the Final Count were completed without exception. Thank you for doing so.
The Election Act, 1996 requires that you submit an official copy of both the E-148 and E-148S to the Chief Electoral Officer on the day fixed for the Return to the Writs, April 27, 2016.
Head Office has included these forms in your couriered package so that you have them readily available. On Wednesday, April 27, you will need to sign these forms (both the E-148 and the E-148S) and mail the signed originals back to Head Office by Registered Mail.
Before sealing the form in an envelope, it is essential that you take a picture of the completed E-148S (it is only one page) and text the image to 1.306.530.4398. This visual image of the form will allow the Chief Electoral Officer to contact the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and certify the results of the election. The Chief Electoral Officer cannot confirm for the Legislative Assembly who has been duly elected without receiving these digital copies (the images you text) of The Writ of Election and certification of the results described on the E-148S on April 27. You do not need to take a picture of the E-148, only the E-148S, which confirms the winning candidate.
A copy of the E-148S must also be sent to every candidate in your constituency. Candidates must not receive a copy of this form before April 27. In the package that is sent to you from Head Office, there will be enough copies of the E-148S to provide one to every candidate.
The E-119 Certificate of the Returning Officer (Number of voters on official voters lists)
You will receive this form in the couriered package from Head Office. All you need to do with this form is sign in the appropriate place. The form is pre-populated with the required information and must be dated April 27, 2016.
A copy of the E-119 must also be sent to every candidate in your constituency. Candidates must not receive a copy of this form before April 27. In the package that is sent to you from Head Office, there will be enough copies of the E-119 to provide one to every candidate. You can package the E-148S and the E-119 together to send to each of the candidates in the envelopes provided.
Return to the Writ Checklist
The checklist below will help ensure you have completed all steps in the Return to the Writ process:
Once all of these activities have been completed on Wednesday, April 27, you will need to prepare them for mailing. When the Writ of Election was mailed to you, a large, white envelope was included. You can use that envelope to send the material back to Head Office. The following items should all fit inside the envelope:
By legislation, the entire Return to the Writ package must be sent using registered mail. The large white envelope should be pre-addressed with a label, but if not, please send the material to:
Attention: Dr. Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer
#301-3303 Hillsdale Street
Regina, SK S4S 6W9
Taking and Sending Pictures with Your Cell Phone through Text Message
As mentioned in the previous article, ROs will need to take and text pictures of key documents while processing the return to the writ. For detailed instructions regarding how to take and send pictures through text message on your cell phone, please refer to the attached document titled “How To: Send Picture Text Message.”