CEO Directives for Pending By-Elections

CEO Directives – By-Elections

Under section 5.1 of The Election Act, 1996 (the Act), the Chief Electoral Officer has the authority to direct the use of “an alternate procedure, equipment or technology” during the administration of a by-election. During the upcoming by-elections, all of which must be administered no later than September 28, 2023 (although two have earlier “deadlines”), I have determined that I will be issuing seven Directives that will significantly amend the election process in these by-elections.

The system that these seven CEO Directives will result in is consistent with the vision of a modernized experience for voters, election workers, and political stakeholders that I have presented for some time, most recently in A Report on the Twenty-Ninth General Election, Volume IV, Chief Electoral Officer’s Recommendations for Legislative Reform.

By CEO Directive, I am directing the following:

  • The Polling Period (CEO Directive 2023-001): Authorizes a transition away from distinct advance and election day voting periods toward a unified “Voting Week.”
  • Polling Divisions (CEO Directive 2023-002): Directs changes to the traditional use of geographic sub-regions.
  • The Poll Clerk (CEO Directive 2023-003): Establishes that this position will not be required at most, but not all, voting locations. This is possible due to the use of electronic poll books and vote counting equipment.
  • Electronic Poll Books (CEO Directive 2023-004): Introduces technology to make it faster and easier to process an increased number of voters while enabling real time data sharing with political stakeholders.
  • Vote Counting Equipment (CEO Directive 2023-005): Directs the use of equipment to count ballots linked to the use of electronic poll book, allowing election officials to manage the higher number of ballots that comes when using electronic poll books.  Vote counting equipment counts ballots faster and more accurately than hand counting.
  • Vote by Mail (CEO Directive 2023-006): Continues use of the centralized Vote by Mail process developed for Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election, held on October 26, 2020; and
  • Voting Record (CEO Directive 2023-007): Introduces a voting record at locations that do not feature technology.

I want to be clear that these CEO Directives will only be implemented, in accordance with legislation, should my office be instructed to issue a writ of election at least four weeks following today’s submission, meaning a by-election called no earlier than May 19, 2023. I would also add that I have written these Directives so as to be open ended enough that if an additional by-election is needed and is held before September 30, 2023, we would follow the amended procedures directed within. Copies of each CEO Directive have been attached to this By-Election Communique.

While I will provide you with substantially more information on how this will affect you, your candidates, and their candidate representatives in the coming weeks, I want to assure you that the system provided for will serve all stakeholders better than the one prescribed in legislation. The use of electronic poll books in most voting locations will provide you with real-time data on who has voted and when (should you choose to access it), allowing your campaigns to better target their efforts. And the use of vote counting equipment for most ballots cast will provide fast results on the final day of voting. 

All information related to our modernization initiatives, including CEO Directives, can also be found on the Elections Saskatchewan website at

Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan