Use of CEO Section 7 Authority & Boundary Assessment Publication
Use of CEO Section 7 Authority – Delaying Destruction of Election Materials
By legislation, my office is required to destroy certain election materials, including ballot boxes and all of their contents, one year after we receive them. These requirements are detailed in section 176 of The Election Act, 1996 and have typically taken place behind the scenes with little interest or attention at our Regina warehouse. Given that each of the province’s 61 constituencies can have between 40 and 60 ballot boxes along with other various other materials, this destruction is a significant undertaking of time and resources.
The continued presence of COVID-19, however, has caused ongoing difficulties with completing work at our warehouse – which requires a number of people to work together in the same physical space for long periods of time. To that end, I am concerned that gathering a group of people to complete this work could represent a risk to health and safety and it is my opinion that by delaying this work, we can decrease or eliminate that risk. Therefore, I am using the authority found in section 7 of The Election Act, 1996 (the Act) to declare that an emergency exists and that I will be delaying the destruction of election materials to a later time. I will keep you informed of our plans in these regards.
Please accept this communique as the required notice under subsection 7(3) of the Act. In accordance with subsection 7(6), I will provide the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly with a report on these actions within 60 days.
CEO Assessment – Modernizing Saskatchewan’s Constituency Boundary Legislation & Processes
Earlier today, I released Modernizing Saskatchewan’s Constituency Boundary Legislation and Processes, a CEO Assessment Series publication. This document offers a comprehensive history of the boundary delimitation process in the province as well as ten recommendations for improvement and modernization. I hope you will find the topic interesting and important, and I would be happy to discuss my recommendations with you.
You can find it on our website at https://www.elections.sk.ca/ reports-data/ceo-assessment-series/.
Canadian Centre for Cyber Security – Political Party Training
I also wanted to provide you with information on a training course that may be of interest to you and your team. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is a federal government agency tasked with providing cyber security support to Canadian organizations and have a group dedicated to democracy-focused organizations such as election management bodies and political parties. Our Director of Information Technology participates in a monthly conference call organized by this group and has found it be very beneficial.
It’s come to my attention that this group is offering a session entitled Cyber Security for Political Party IT Decision Makers and IT Staff. This course is in beta testing and is currently available until November 12. I simply wanted to pass along a link to the course in case you are interested, but also to ensure you are aware of the work taking place at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.
You can find a link to the course at https://lih-cai.cse-cst.gc.ca/course/view.php?id=188. You will need to create an account, and have it approved but a member of my team did so with no difficulty. I believe the course will take about half an hour to complete.
I trust that you will find this information useful and hope that you take advantage of this opportunity. If I encounter similar courses in the future, I will send you a message as soon as possible.
Athabasca By-Election Update
Finally, just a short update on our planning for a by-election in the constituency of Athabasca. While an election date has not yet been set, we do know that it must be held before February 15, 2022. We have a returning officer (RO) in place and important pre-writ work is underway. I hope that we will have an election clerk to assist the RO very soon. We are reviewing our registration numbers to see if there are any targeted activities that we should undertake to boost coverage in the constituency. In the near future, I will have information on potential pilot projects that we will undertake during this by-election as well as what measures we will be taking to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to voters, election workers and political stakeholders.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan