RPP Micro Topic Briefing, Update on Polling Locations & CEO Orders
RPP Micro Topic – Advance/Election Day Voting Processes
During yesterday’s micro topic briefing on our plans for advance and election day voting, I mentioned that I was hopeful that we would be able to schedule one more session before the start of the election period. I am happy to tell that you that we have found time next Thursday to discuss our plans to offer “special voting” opportunities during this election. This includes voting in personal care facilities, hospitals & remand centers, as well as how we plan to make the ballot available to those who find themselves quarantined due to COVID-19.
This briefing will be held on Thursday, September 24 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. My staff will send an invite and, as with previous briefings, you are free to invite one other representative from your party to attend. I’m looking forward to speaking with you again and sharing our plans for how we are facilitating voting for high-risk groups such as patients in the hospital and residents of personal care facilities. Given that this will almost certainly be the last time we gather (virtually of course) before the call of the election, I very much encourage you to join us if you are able.
Polling Locations – Update on Timing
During yesterday’s session a question was asked as to when registered political parties would be able to receive a file listing all confirmed polling locations in the province. Those of you who attended heard me say that we are having challenges securing and confirming polling locations due to the impact of COVID-19. Given this, I do not expect to have a file ready for you before the Writs of election are issued.
I also anticipate that we will see far more “last minute” changes to polling locations than we have seen in past events. We are working on a plan to communicate these changes to you, as a registered political party, but also to affected voters so that they can make a plan to vote.
As I described last week, I anticipate that in order to administer a successful election, certain adaptations to The Election Act, 1996 (the Act) will be required. These adaptations can be broken down into two main 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) 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 to your staff, candidates and other party officials. Two CEO Orders are attached:
CEO-Order-2020-03 Voter Information Cards – Advance Voting Direction: This CEO Order allows Elections Saskatchewan to direct voters to a specific advance poll in their constituency on their Voter Information Card as opposed to listing every advance poll in the constituency. This should provide for a more even balance of voters at each advance voting location. A voter may still vote at any advance poll in their constituency – this Order only amends the content of the Voter Information Card.
CEO-Order-2020-04 Election Proclamations – Personal Care Facility, Hospital and Remand Centre Polls: This CEO Order adjusts the contents of the election proclamation to allow more time and flexibility for Elections Saskatchewan to confirm polling locations in personal care facilities, hospitals, and remand centres. The proclamation will instead indicate that information on these polls can be found on the Elections Saskatchewan website at https://www. elections.sk.ca/specialvoting.
Questions on CEO Orders can be directed to Jennifer Colin, Deputy CEO, at [email protected] CEO Orders are posted on our website here: https://www.elections.sk.ca/candidates-political-parties/bulletins-circulars/.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan