Final Count Information
Final Count – Monday, February 28
Traditionally, the Final Count is held 12 days after election day. However, legislation states that the Final Count cannot take place on a Sunday, which means for this by-election, the Final Count will be held 13 days after election day, on Monday, February 28. The Final Count will take place in two locations – see below for more information.
Final Count – Returning Office
The Final Count in the constituency of Athabasca Returning Office will begin at 9 a.m. on February 28. A candidate may attend, or they may appoint a candidate representative to attend in their place.
At this portion of the Final Count:
All candidate representatives who attend the Final Count must be able to produce an E-417 appointment form – a copy of which can be found on our website at www.elections.sk.ca/ candidates-political-parties/forms-and-guides/. Anyone who cannot produce the appointment form will not be able to stay for the Final Count. In addition, every person who attends the Final Count will need to complete an Oath of Secrecy. Although the Final Count will begin promptly at 9 a.m., candidates and/or candidate representatives do not need to be in attendance at the start of the Count, nor are they required to stay for the entire process. While a candidate or their representative can leave and then rejoin, the Final Count will proceed regardless. Candidates and candidate representatives must follow all COVID-19 protocols, including wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing. I would also ask that if your candidates or a representative on their behalf plans to attend at the returning office, that they contact the office in advance so that logistical arrangements can be made.
Final Count – Vote by Mail & ATV
Beginning at 1 p.m. on February 28 (the start time of this portion of the Final Count was changed in CEO Order 2022-009 Adjusting the Deadline for Elections Saskatchewan to Receive Absentee (Vote by Mail) Ballots by Mail to allow one additional day for remaining Vote by Mail ballots to be received by my office), we will conduct the Final Count of Vote by Mail (VBM) and Assisted Telephone Voting (ATV) ballots at our head office in Regina (301 – 3303 Hillsdale Street, Regina).
The process that we will follow will be much the same as it was for the Second Preliminary Count, held on Thursday, February 17. All Vote by Mail ballot kits received between February 16 and noon on February 28 will go through adjudication and those ballot kits that pass adjudication will be counted. ATV votes will be counted after VBM ballots.
For this by-election, we will complete the adjudication of the Vote by Mail ballot envelopes as part of the Final Count. I know that registered political parties have an interest in viewing this portion of the Vote by Mail process and I will work to facilitate this moving forward. That said, depending on the volume of Vote by Mail ballots to be counted, this may not always happen at the same time or at the same location as the Final Count.
Candidates and registered political parties can appoint a representative to observe the counting of ballots. To facilitate this, I have attached an E-417C candidate’s representative appointment form. If you, or a representative from your party, would like to attend this Count, please complete the form and email it to Sarah Wright at [email protected]. The adjudication and counting of ballots will begin promptly at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 28.
When the Final Count ends, we enter a period of time when candidates can request or apply for a recount.
A recount will, by legislation, be automatically granted if a request is made by a candidate or their business manager under the following two circumstances:
The Election Act, 1996 refers to the two scenarios described above as “automatic” recounts – see section 155 of the Act for more information. A request for an automatic recount must be made to the constituency returning officer and must be made within four days of the Final Count. For the Athabasca by-election, neither of the requirements listed above have been met.
There are also circumstances where a candidate or business manager can apply to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench for a recount or addition. These are:
In circumstances where a candidate is not entitled to request an automatic recount, the application must be made to the Court of Queen’s Bench within ten days of the returning officer declaring a candidate to be elected. Refer to section 156 for more information.
I have been in contact with the Registrar of the Court of Queen’s Bench to clarify how an application for a recount or addition should be managed. An application “without notice” can be made at the Court of Queen’s Bench location in Battleford and must be accompanied by a deposit of $300 as well as a court filing fee of $200.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan
All information related to the Athabasca by-election can be found online at www.elections.sk.ca/athabasca.