Plans for GE29, RPP Meetings & Input
The Conduct of Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election in the Context of Novel Coronavirus Disease: Recommendations
Given the presence of COVID-19, any large event planned for the rest of the year will need to be evaluated for its safety from a public health perspective and its feasibility in light of restrictions designed to minimize the spread of this disease. In Saskatchewan, this will include our provincial election (October 26), municipal elections (November 9), the Grey Cup (November 22), and Agribition (beginning November 30).
You will have seen recently a number of media articles related to recommendations I forwarded to the Government of Saskatchewan and the Legislative Assembly with respect to planning for and implementing Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election. I want to take an opportunity to update you on these recommendations and the response that I have received so far.
You will find attached an overview of the recommendations I put forward on May 4, 2020. I would encourage you to look at this document from the perspective of the assumptions that I have made and intend to use going forward with respect to our planning for the general election; three areas in which Elections Saskatchewan has had to re-think how it organizes election due to COVID-19; and the four recommendations I made with respect to assistance that my office needs at this time in order to prepare for a successful election.
You will also find attached a copy of the news release I issued last week when changes to The Election Act Regulations were announced. These regulatory changes clarified and better defined the emergency powers found in section 7 of The Election Act, 1996 and provide the Chief Electoral Officer with clear authority to adapt provisions to ensure the health and safety of electoral stakeholders. I have evaluated these regulations in detail and, from an operational perspective, I am of the view that Elections Saskatchewan can begin to plan for a general election on October 26, 2020 that reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19. The finalized regulations are not yet available, but I should be able to provide you with a copy with my next communique.
Of course, there is much more work ahead of us in preparing for the coming election and further communication that will be necessary with the Government of Saskatchewan and the Legislative Assembly. As Chief Official Agents for your Registered Political Party, I would be happy to speak with you about any questions that you have related to our plans for conducting the coming election.
Meetings with Registered Political Parties
Traditionally, I have hosted a meeting in early June between Elections Saskatchewan and the province’s registered political parties. The current environment will not allow us to proceed with this meeting for the first time since 2013. I do, however, want to connect with you this spring and into the summer. Rather than one full-day session, I am anticipating scheduling some shorter sessions with you via video conference that will last about an hour and focus on a specific topic related to what Elections Saskatchewan is planning for the general election. Please stay tuned for more information on this.
Ongoing Input Encouraged
As you are aware, we are taking the current pandemic into account as we continue to move forward with our plans for the coming election. Our goal is to make the election safe not only for voters, but also election workers, candidates, candidate scrutineers and for other participants such as campaign volunteers. If you have specific areas of concern that you would like to discuss with us or ensure that we are taking into consideration in our planning, please reach out to Jennifer Colin at Jennifer.Colin@elections.sk.ca or 306.787.4061.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan