Report recommends improvements to Saskatchewan's election legislation

December 20, 2013 – Elections Saskatchewan has completed a report recommending updates to The Elections Act, 1996.

Toward an Improved Legislative Framework for Elections in Saskatchewan – Step One: Recommended Amendments for Saskatchewan’s 28th General Election, a publication within the Chief Electoral Officer’s Assessment series, was released today.

The report recommends 15 specific legislative amendments that respond to specific needs identified for modernizing Saskatchewan’s electoral process in advance of the provincial general election, currently scheduled for November 2, 2015. These are:

  • Institute independent staffing model for Elections Saskatchewan
  • Facilitate greater access for disabled voters through homebound voting
  • Introduce a permanent register of voters
  • Streamline advance voting
  • Streamline registration at voting locations
  • Increase the integrity of voting ID requirements
  • Permit a voter to deposit their own ballot
  • Facilitate absentee voting for remote areas
  • Adjust advance voting days to better serve rural communities
  • Ban the use (not possession) of cameras/phones in voting locations
  • Increase flexibility in hiring election officers
  • Provide the ability for 16 and 17 year olds to work as poll clerks
  • Remove the Chief Electoral Officer’s duty to transport candidate scrutineers
  • Establish term limits for returning officers
  • Appoint election clerks on the same basis as returning officers.

“Over time, Saskatchewan’s electoral legislative framework has become dated and no longer fully reflects the expectations of citizens or current best practices compared to other jurisdictions across the country and around the world,” said Dr. Michael Boda, Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer.

“This report is the first step in a two-step process designed to modernize Saskatchewan’s election law. Step Two, to be conducted in preparation for the province’s 29th general election, will include more far-reaching recommendations that will take longer to implement.”

The recommendations in this initial Assessment fall into three broad categories:

  • Aligning Elections Saskatchewan’s human resources policies with those of election management bodies in other jurisdictions
  • Moving from periodically enumerating voters to a system that uses a continuously updated permanent register of voters, a recommendation that was introduced in Toward a Permanent Register of Voters for Saskatchewan, the previous publication in the Chief Electoral Officer’s Assessment series
  • Diminishing the barriers individual voters face in casting their ballot

“The current recommendations require timely consideration so that all changes are in place well in advance of the general elections, allowing for the adequate planning, organizing and training of election officials across the province,” Boda said.

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) 787-7355