WORKING THE FEDERAL ELECTION
With Canada’s general election being held on October 19, 2015, Saskatchewan’s general election is now scheduled for April 4, 2016. In light of this change, we are thinking carefully about how we can most effectively ensure our Field Leadership Team is prepared to implement the coming provincial general election. I want to assure you that we are being highly intentional with respect to transitioning our priorities, particularly when it comes to ensuring you are equipped for the task ahead.
Our Operations Service Line is currently in the midst of redesigning our training approach based on this revised schedule. I wanted to be in touch to let you know about a central component in our training strategy so that you can prepare to participate.
The October 19 federal election affords a key opportunity for training the members of our Field Leadership Team. While the federal system obviously differs from our provincial one, the federal election provides the opportunity for our team members to understand and appreciate the pressures polling officials experience in a way that won’t be possible during the provincial general election, given your leadership role in returning offices.
With this in mind, we are asking all members of our Field Leadership Team to participate as part of the 180,000+ workers that Elections Canada will need. In doing so, you will be able to compare the training you receive to the real-world events you encounter, assist actual voters in casting their ballot, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of polling locations and set up. All of this learning will be valuable as you prepare to administer the election in your constituency.
I am writing today to let you know that we have been working with Elections Canada’s Head Office on this initiative. They have offered some guidance on how we are to move forward. Here are the steps involved:
I want to encourage all of you to apply to be Deputy Returning Officers (DRO) where you will be responsible for running a poll. The DRO takes on the responsibility for making decisions related to identification, setting up the poll in the morning and counting the ballots at the end of the night. Performing these duties will provide an overview of the entire electoral process. What you learn through this position fits well with the training strategy that we are assembling here at Elections Saskatchewan.
Although we are working closely with Elections Canada to achieve our goals, please be aware that hiring decisions on the federal level are ultimately up to the local Returning Officer. Also, you will be paid for the day at rates set in Elections Canada’s fees tariff.
I genuinely appreciate your willingness as members of our Field Leadership Team to participate in this training effort, which not only reinforces the quality of our coming provincial general election, but supports the work of our federal colleagues in election administration and our national electoral process. I look forward to seeing the success of this component of our overall training approach at Elections Saskatchewan.
Michael D. Boda, D.Phil., Ph.D.
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan