Saskatchewan's CEO applauds legislation change

Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) applauds the election legislation amendments that were announced this week.

“In recent months, I’ve released two assessments that include specific recommendations to modernize and improve the legislative framework in the province,” says Dr. Michael Boda, Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer and head of Elections Saskatchewan, the provincial election management body.

“New legislation passed this week, The Election Amendment Act, 2014, includes 11 changes recommended in December, all of which improve our election law and remove barriers to participation in the electoral process.”

“After issuing these assessments, Elections Saskatchewan was consulted on the proposed changes and was part of the process of legislative reform. Having electoral stakeholders—government, opposition and the provincial election management body—working together on improving legislation is an excellent indicator of Saskatchewan’s democratic health.”

In October 2013, the CEO released Toward a Permanent Register of Voters for Saskatchewan. In December, 2013, he published an additional assessment Toward an Improved Legislative Framework for Elections in Saskatchewan – Step One: Recommended Amendments for Saskatchewan’s 28th General Election. Both are part of the CEO’s assessment series and are available here.

The 11 specific legislative amendments that respond to specific needs identified for modernizing 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
  • Appoint election clerks on the same basis as returning officers.

These changes would take effect prior to 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 moves to April 4, 2016.

“Elections Saskatchewan will immediately begin planning and drafting an implementation plan for these changes, in particular the establishing of a permanent voter register and homebound voting. In the months ahead and in time for the next electoral cycle, we’ll also begin a second step in this process, one that involves more comprehensive election-related recommendations that will take longer to implement.”

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