Final Count Information
Final Count – Saturday, November 7
The Final Count is held twelve days after election day, in this case, on Saturday, November 7. The Final Count for this election will look slightly different than what has taken place during past events and I want to ensure that you understand what votes will be counted in what locations and when each will take place. See below for more information.
Final Count – Returning Offices
A Final Count will be conducted in each constituency returning office beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 7. A candidate can attend, or they can appoint a candidate representative to attend.
At the Final Count:
Any candidate representatives who attend the Final Count must be able to produce an E-417 appointment form – a copy can be found at https://www.elections.sk.ca/candidates-political-parties/forms-and-guides/. If they cannot produce the appointment form, they will not be able to stay for the counting of votes. Every person in attendance for the counting of ballots will need to complete an Oath of Secrecy as well. Although the Count will begin promptly at 9 a.m., candidates and representatives do not need to be in attendance at the start of the Final Count, nor are they required to stay for the entire duration. A candidate representative can also leave for a portion of the Count and then rejoin, but the Final Count will proceed regardless.
For the Final Count in 2020, all candidates or candidate representatives must follow COVID-19 protocols – including wearing a mask at all times, practicing physical distancing and using hand sanitizer when entering the office. Anyone who does not comply with these requirements will be asked to leave the returning office.
Final Count – Vote by Mail
As with the Second Preliminary Count, the Final Count of Vote by Mail ballots will take place at the Delta Hotel in Regina, beginning at 9 a.m. on November 7. You can expect much the same for arrangements – 26 constituencies being counted at one time over several large rooms with COVID-19 restrictions in place throughout.
The process of appointing candidate representatives to observe the Final Count of Vote by Mail ballots will differ slightly. On Thursday, November 5, before 5 p.m., we will email you, as Chief Official Agent, and ask which constituencies you are interested in assigning a candidate representative to observe. You can select up to 26 constituencies (meaning 26 candidate representatives). We will need a complete list back by 12 noon on November 6 including the constituencies you wish to observe, the name of all representatives along with an email address for each. I will attempt to ensure that the constituencies that parties wish to observe are in the initial set for which counting will begin at 9 a.m., but I cannot guarantee this.
Final Count – Extraordinary Voting
The last set of ballots to be counted during the Final Count are those which were cast using the extraordinary voting methods – both for individuals required to isolate due to COVID-19 and for residents of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities which experienced a COVID-19-related lockdown during the writ period.
Extraordinary voting ballots will be counted at our head office, 3303 Hillsdale Street, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 7. With the exception of the constituency of Cumberland, there is a relatively small volume of Extraordinary Voting ballots for each constituency. In Cumberland, due to the Extraordinary Voting opportunity offered in Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities, there are 281 Extraordinary Voting ballots to be counted (this number could increase as the deadline to receive these votes is Thursday, November 5).
If you would like to have a candidate representative attend this count, please email Jennifer Colin at [email protected] and she will make arrangements to facilitate their attendance. Any candidate representatives who attend the Final Count of Extraordinary Voting ballots must be able to produce an E-417 appointment form – a blank form can be found at https://www.elections.sk.ca/candidates-political-parties/forms-and-guides/. As with the Final Count in the Returning Office, if they cannot produce the appointment form, they will not be able to stay for the counting of votes. COVID-19 protocols will be in place.
When the Final Count ends, we enter into a period of time whereby candidates can request or apply for recounts.
A recount will be automatically granted if a request is made by a candidate or their business manager under the following two circumstances:
The Election Act, 1996 refers to the two above scenarios as “automatic” recounts – see section 155 of the Act for more information. A request for an automatic recount is made to the constituency returning officer and must be made within four days of the Final Count.
There are also circumstances where a candidate or business manager can apply to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench for a recount or addition. These are:
In circumstances where a candidate is not entitled to request an automatic recount, the application must be made to the Court of Queen’s Bench within ten days of the returning officer declaring a candidate to be elected. Refer to section 156 for more information.
I will issue instructions to all of my returning officers on how to proceed if they receive a request for an automatic recount. I have also been in contact with the Registrar of the Court of Queen’s Bench to clarify how applications for recounts or additions should be managed. An application can be made at any Court of Queen’s Bench location in the province and must be accompanied by a deposit of $300.
Security of Voters Lists
The Election Act, 1996 requires that the Chief Electoral Officer take all reasonable steps to protect against unauthorized use of a voters’ list. When you, or an authorized representative requested access to the list, you signed a declaration to protect, secure and/or destroy the list of electors. I want to stress the importance of the commitment that was made and ask that you follow through on this.
I would also ask that you remind your candidates of their responsibility to collect and destroy any copies of the voters list used during their campaign. All candidates, or their representative, were required to sign the same declaration to protect, secure and/or destroy the voters list provided to them. This responsibility extends to campaign workers and volunteers who may have been provided with a copy of the list. I will issue another reminder on this toward the end of the writ period.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan