New legislation reduces barriers to voting


December 8, 2014 – More barriers to voting in Saskatchewan were reduced today with the official proclamation of The Election Amendment Act, 2014.

Last May, the Government of Saskatchewan announced electoral legislation amendments that will improve the province’s election law and remove barriers to voting. These amendments were announced following the release of two Chief Electoral Officer assessments—Toward a Permanent Register of Voters for Saskatchewan (October 2013) and Toward an Improved Legislative Framework for Elections in Saskatchewan – Step One: Recommended Amendments for Saskatchewan’s 28th General Election (December 2013).

The 11 recommended legislative amendments that will modernize Saskatchewan’s electoral process were:
• Facilitate greater access for disabled voters through homebound voting;
• Introduce a permanent register of voters;
• Streamline advance voting;
• Streamline registration at voting locations;
• Permit a voter to deposit their own ballot;
• Facilitate absentee voting for remote areas;
• Ban the use (not possession) of cameras/phones in voting locations;
• Increase flexibility in hiring election officers;
• Remove the Chief Electoral Officer’s duty to transport candidate scrutineers;
• Establish term limits for returning officers; and
• Appoint election clerks on the same basis as returning officers.

With the proclamation, these changes are now in effect for the next general election, which by law is set for November 2, 2015. If there is a conflict with a federal election at that time, the alternative date for Saskatchewan’s election is April 4, 2016.
 
“Changes reflected in the Act—including 11 recommendations put forward by my office—are the result of a genuinely collaborative process,” says Dr. Michael Boda, Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer and head of Elections Saskatchewan, the provincial election management body. “We are pleased to have worked closely with both Government and Opposition members to further reduce barriers for all voters in the province.”

“Since these amendments were announced last spring, Elections Saskatchewan has been planning and delivering on an implementation plan for these changes. We have a project team in place to establish a permanent voter register, and our Operations team is making progress on offering homebound voting in the next general election.”

“It’s important to note that these 11 amendments mark the first step in modernizing Saskatchewan’s electoral legislation. We are now looking ahead to the second step in this process that involves more comprehensive election-related recommendations that will take longer to bring into place.”

Elections Saskatchewan is the province’s independent, impartial, professional election management body. Given a mandate from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, it organizes, manages and oversees provincial electoral events.

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For more information contact:
Tim Kydd
Senior Director, Outreach & Policy
Elections Saskatchewan
306.537.9211
Tim.kydd@elections.sk.ca