The traditional approach to compiling the list of voters in Saskatchewan has been through door-to-door enumeration. The list that is compiled by enumeration is discarded after the election and the process begins again every four years in preparation for the next election. This is a labour intensive and costly activity. Additionally, fewer people are at home today when the enumerator calls and people are becoming more reluctant to open their doors to someone they do not know.
A permanent register of voters is a regularly updated database of eligible voters. It is usually produced the first time from a “final” enumeration and then is updated and maintained on an ongoing basis using a variety of public sector data sources. Voters lists can be produced from a permanent register whenever necessary for use in provincial elections, local elections or by-elections. Up-to-date lists can also be used to revise polling division boundaries between elections or when constituency boundaries change as a result of redistribution.
Since enumeration usually occurs in close proximity to the election event, it is very current. However, the coverage or completeness of a voters list produced from a permanent register can be superior to an enumerated list, principally because it is being continuously updated and is not recollected before each election. The coverage of a voters list prepared through enumeration is dependent on the completeness of the enumeration effort and is subject to a variety of factors that may not always be within the control of election administrators.
The 28th General Election will be the last electoral event that will have a voters list compiled partly from enumeration. After this, a permanent register will be in place in Saskatchewan for all future electoral events. Starting this spring, a province-wide mail-out to hundreds of thousands of households across Saskatchewan will ask residents to confirm their information for the voters list. There will also be targeted enumeration occurring in select polling divisions that have low coverage on the voters list or high mobility, to ensure all voters are recorded.
Please keep an eye on your mail for your enumeration notice. This will be the best time to contact Elections Saskatchewan with any edits to the voters list for your household.
Elections Saskatchewan Voter Registration
News release: Elections Saskatchewan, Elections Canada sign information sharing agreement
Chief Electoral Officer’s Assessment: Toward a Permanent Register of Voters for Saskatchewan