Final Count Tomorrow & CEO Orders
Final Count Tomorrow
Just a very brief note to remind you that the Final Count will take place tomorrow. Only after the Final Count is over are election results considered official. Following the completion of the Final Count, we will enter a period where applications for recounts can be made (see my previous Communique for more details). The Return to the Writ will take place on Wednesday, November 18, bringing an end to the election period for Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election.
Given that it appears much of the province is in for a severe winter storm at some point this weekend, please remind your candidates, candidate representatives, and anyone else who may be on the roads to take precautions when traveling.
In order to administer a successful election during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain adaptations to The Election Act, 1996 (the Act) are required. These adaptations can be broken down into two categories – first, changes required to protect against and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and second, changes required to ensure the efficiency and stability of the election system as a result of the pandemic – and will be made using the authority found in section 7 of the Act.
Section 7(3)(a) of the Act requires that the Chief Electoral Officer give notice to every registered political party when the authority contained in section 7 is used. Please accept the attached CEO Orders along with this Communique as that notice. I would also ask that you communicate this information, and the attached CEO Orders, to your candidates, staff, and other party officials. The new CEO Orders are:
CEO-Order-2020-0011 Attendance of Candidate Representatives at Vote by Mail Central Count (REVISION): This CEO Order was revised to clarify that the Final Count of Vote by Mail ballots can take place from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and not from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is consistent with the process that is being followed in returning offices and which is established in existing legislation for the Final Count. Certain prescriptive details related to the order in which constituencies are counted have also been removed – we will follow a very similar process to what was used during the Second Preliminary Count for the first 26 constituencies, but after that, we will allocate constituencies to try and ensure counting is finished for all 61 constituencies before the end of the day.
CEO-Order-2020-012 Continuation of Final Count in Constituency Returning Offices: This CEO Order allows the Final Count in Returning Offices to proceed on Sunday if necessary. The Act currently does not allow the Final Count to take place on a Sunday or on a holiday; given that municipal elections will be held on Monday, November 9, it would be far better for the Final Count to be done and results official before the end of the weekend. In 2016, the Final Count was finished in one day in all 61 constituencies, but this Order provides the ability to move ahead on Sunday if needed.
Thank you for your continued cooperation as we complete the Final Count for the 29th Provincial General Election. I will be in touch next week with further details on the end of the election period. Until then, best wishes for a safe weekend during what is expected to be our first winter storm of the year.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan