Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election Begins
Writs of Election Issued
This morning, I received an order from the Lieutenant Governor in Council instructing me to issue the Writs of Election, officially beginning the 29th election in the history of our province. As I prepare this Communique, the process is underway. Later today, our returning officers will receive an electronic copy of their Writ and tomorrow the physical Writs will be couriered around the province.
The presence of COVID-19 in our communities will make this a unique election for registered political parties, candidates, and for us as an election management body. Know that we are here to support you through the coming weeks and months. I look forward to working through this process with you.
Returning Office Locations
Attached is a document listing office address and contact information for all 61 returning offices in the province. These offices will now open to serve voters, candidates and business managers. Office hours for all 61 locations will be:
You should be aware that all returning offices will be closed on Monday, October 12 for Thanksgiving. Our head office staff will be available to offer assistance on that day if required.
In several of our micro topic briefings, we mentioned the difficulty that our team has had securing polling locations throughout the province. I want you to be aware that our team in the field and here at head office has worked very hard to find convenient, accessible polling locations that will allow us to serve voters to the best of our abilities. The requirements to offer increased physical distancing has seen the number of poll locations that we will have nearly double from about 1,070 in 2016 to more than 2,075 for this election.
Attached you will find a list of poll locations being used in this election. These locations will soon become public on election proclamations, in our “Where do I Vote” online tool and on Voter Information Cards. That said, given the challenges COVID-19 has posed, I believe that we may see a higher number of “last minute” changes than we have seen in the past. Changes to polling locations will be posted to our website.
An election calendar denoting key dates is attached to this Communique. If you would like hard copies of this calendar, please email Richard Hall at [email protected] and he will arrange to have them shipped to you.
As shown on the election calendar discussed above, the nomination deadline is 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 10. I would strongly suggest that you encourage your candidates to submit their nomination packages well in advance of that deadline and that they contact their returning officer to set up an appointment to review the package and clarify any questions or issues. Our legislation does not allow the Chief Electoral Officer to provide for an extension of the nomination deadline so please ensure that all of your candidates are aware of this important deadline.
Throughout the writ period, we will be updating the list of officially nominated candidates at 6 p.m. each day. That list can be found at https://www.elections.sk.ca/candidates-political-parties/candidates/.
Update to Register of Political Parties – Section 226
Section 226 of The Election Act, 1996 required registered political parties to update (or to confirm) the information found in the register of political parties within ten days of the writs of election being issued. New for this election is the requirement for the leader or chief official agent of a party to inform the Chief Electoral Officer as to how they wish the name of the party or its abbreviation (or both) to appear on the ballot and other election documents. This notice can be completed using the E-515 Confirmation of Party Details/Designation of Representatives for an Election Period form, which is attached and can also be found on our website here.
This is also an opportunity for your party leader to designate a representative to endorse candidates for the election if they wish to do so. I will send one more reminder of this requirement closer to the deadline. Contact Jennifer Colin at [email protected] if you have questions on this process or on the new requirement to inform the CEO as to how your party should appear on the ballot.
Candidates who Live Outside Constituency
A candidate does not need to reside in the constituency in which they are running. Section 16(5) of the Act allows candidates, as well as their spouse and dependents (who must live with the candidate and be eligible voters) to be added to the voters list and to vote in the constituency in which the candidate is running. Attached is the form that facilitates this process. We must receive this form by Thursday, October 15 or we cannot process changes to the voters list. If you or your candidates have questions about how this process works, please contact Jennifer Colin at the email address above.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan