Serving Voters under Extraordinary Conditions

Serving Voters under Extraordinary Conditions

This past March, as our head office shifted to working remotely, I was in touch to advise that we would likely experience some fundamental challenges in the days and months ahead. This has proven to be true on many levels. Administering an election with the Coronavirus present has proven difficult, but not insurmountable.

Throughout the past few months, I have stressed the need to be adaptable and flexible with our approach to this election. Through this, I have had two guiding principles: first, access to the ballot, and second, the integrity of our voting system. Preserving those two elements is of the utmost importance to me, and to Elections Saskatchewan as we move forward.

During the micro-topic briefings that we offered you in leading up to this election, we discussed the topic of “Extraordinary Voting.” At the time, we explained that it would be offered to those who were forced to self-isolate due to having caught COVID-19 or having been a close contact to someone who has COVID-19. In the weeks since, we have refined the process for that form of Extraordinary Voting which I am calling “Extraordinary Voting – Self-Isolation.” More information on that topic can be found below.

But most of you will also be aware that Saskatchewan is currently experiencing flare ups and outbreaks of COVID-19 in parts of the province. This has resulted in localized “lockdowns” and stay at home orders being issued for certain communities. The timing of these lockdowns and the number of actives cases in some communities makes it unlikely that they will be lifted before October 26. To that end, I have created an additional form of Extraordinary Voting, one which is flexible enough to be tailored to the community that it must apply to. More information on this topic can be found below.      

Within the next day, I will provide you with a copy of CEO Orders on both forms of Extraordinary Voting mentioned here.

Extraordinary Voting – Self-Isolation

Beginning today, October 15, Saskatchewan Health Authority contact tracers reaching out to individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 and their close contacts, will share a brief message about how they can cast a ballot despite the requirement to self-isolate. These individuals will be unable to leave their home during advance voting and on election day.

Between October 16 and 20, Elections Saskatchewan will be offering a form of Extraordinary Voting to these voters. They will be provided with a phone number to contact our office. When they call us, we will work them through the process by which they can apply to vote, provide ID and receive their ballot kit. They will then need to arrange for it to be sent back to us before 8 p.m. on election day (as with all Vote by Mail ballots).

All Extraordinary ballots will be counted at the Final Count, beginning on Saturday, November 7.

Extraordinary Voting – Peter Ballantyne

By now, I expect that all of you have heard that the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in northeast Saskatchewan in on lockdown after the declaration of a COVID-19 outbreak. Since the lockdown was declared, I have been in contact with Chief Peter Beatty and have been trying to determine how we can best offer voting to individuals affected by this lockdown. 

After discussions with Chief Beatty and with representatives from the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, we have determined that there will be no in-person voting in Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities. This affects the following polls in the Constituency of Cumberland:


Poll #





Pelican Narrows

Napoleon Merasty Memorial Arena

Election Day


Kinasoo First Nation

Irene Olson Memorial School

Election Day



Southend Band Community Hall

Election Day

21, 22, 23

Pelican Narrows First Nation

Community Band Hall

Election Day

24, 25

Sandy Bay

Gary Morin Memorial Hall

Election Day


Sturgeon Landing

Joe Michael Recreation Centre

Election Day

36A, 36B

Deschambeault Lake

Deschambeault Lake Band Hall

These voters will also be served using an Extraordinary Voting process, one that has been tailored for this community. Beginning tomorrow, October 16, affected voters will be able to call my office if they wish to vote. We will work with voters to register if needed as well. This opportunity to apply to vote will be available until 5 p.m. on October 20. Closer to election day, ballot kits will be delivered to individual residences and then picked up from the same residences, on or just before election day.

Again, all Extraordinary ballots will be counted at the Final Count, beginning on Saturday, November 7.

In the coming days, I will be working with Chief Beatty to communicate this opportunity to vote to residents of the affected polling divisions. I will also be sending a letter to each candidate in the constituency with these same details.

If you have questions on how these processes will work, please be in contact with me.    


Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan