Preliminary Results & Second Preliminary Count Info

Preliminary Results

Jim Lemaigre of the Saskatchewan Party has gained the most votes following last evening’s First Preliminary Count in the Athabasca by-election. The vote count is as follows:

Clint Arnason

Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan


Georgina Jolibois

New Democratic Party


Jim Lemaigre

Saskatchewan Party


Darwin Roy



Rejected Ballots



These are only the preliminary results. We will be holding a Second Preliminary Count of Vote by Mail ballots received before the end of by-election day tomorrow, February 17 (more information below). On Monday, February 28, the Final Count will take place, both at the returning office and at our head office in Regina. More information on the Final Count to come next week.

ESK Returning Office Team

Administering a by-election at any time can be a challenge. Administering a by-election, in February, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a constituency as geographically large as Athabasca, is especially challenging. I want to take a moment and highlight the good work that our team, led by Returning Officer Marlene Daigneault and Election Clerk Anita Corrigal, did in the returning office.

While I have a very good team in place at head office, I could not administer election events without strong, capable leaders in the field like Marlene and Anita. I would appreciate it if you could mention the work of these individuals as you discuss the by-election results within your party. A healthy democracy needs strong administrative leadership centrally and in the field.

Second Preliminary Count

A few days ago, I informed you that we would once again be holding a Second Preliminary Count of Vote by Mail (VBM) ballots. You’ll remember that, during the general election, we implemented this Count due to the large number of VBM ballots that needed to be counted, which otherwise would have been outstanding until the Final Count, 12 days after election day. The Second Preliminary Count provided additional certainty to candidates, registered political parties and the voting public by counting all VBM ballots received at my office by election day. The remainder of VBM ballots were counted as part of the Final Count.

In this by-election, we are not hosting a Second Preliminary Count due to the volume of Vote by Mail ballots that are outstanding, but rather to offer an opportunity for my team to refine our internal processes as we look toward a general election in 2024. As of yesterday, we have 9 VBM ballots that will be adjudicated for possible inclusion at the Second Preliminary Count on Thursday, February 17 beginning at 1 p.m. at our head office in Regina, 301 – 3303 Hillsdale Street.

The process for this Second Preliminary Count will be much simpler than it was for the general election as there is only one constituency being counted. Candidates and registered political parties are able to appoint candidate representatives 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]. Ballot counting will begin promptly at 1 p.m.

ATV De-Encryption Process

A very brief note to let you know that we will be undertaking the Assisted Telephone Voting de-encryption process tomorrow as well. This will involve comparing the ATV number and comparing it against the poll books, completing a certificate envelope and striking off the voter as having voted. The certificate envelope will then be placed into a ballot box. You are welcome to observe this activity if you wish – it will begin at 10 a.m. in our head office, 301 – 3303 Hillsdale Street.

Returning Office – Verification

I want you to be aware that later this week, the returning officer will be opening a number of ballot boxes for the constituency and completing a verification activity. I have asked that we check to ensure that no voter who cast a ballot by mail, by telephone or as an absentee voter, also voted in person at an election day poll. This will involve opening the ballot boxes for affected polling divisions in order to check the voter’s list (or poll book) to see if the individual listed is struck off as having voted in person. If they did vote in person, we will not count the VBM or ATV vote.

Normally, we have a form on which our officials record all voters who take an oath, allowing them to vote in person after having applied for VBM.  However, for this by-election, I am asking our officials take an extra verification step via the poll book (or voters list). This will help to better protect the integrity of the voting process and ensure that no voter could vote twice. The reason I am undertaking this activity is because of the significant length of time it has taken for mail to arrive in Athabasca – a voter may have decided to vote in person after applying to vote by mail if their ballot kit did not arrive in time. If you have any questions at all, I would be happy to speak with you about this process.   

Upcoming Key Dates

Just a few key dates to add to your calendar:

  • Monday, February 28 – Final Count to be held in Athabasca returning office and at Elections Saskatchewan head office
  • Thursday, March 10 – Return to the Writ for the Athabasca by-election
  • Monday, May 2 – Deadline for registered political parties to file their annual election expense return (not a by-election deadline but an important date to be aware of)
  • Monday, May 16 – Deadline for candidates to file their by-election expense return
  • Monday, August 15 – Deadline for registered political parties to file their election expense return for the Athabasca by-election

CEO Orders

In advance of the 2020 general election, regulatory changes were made that clarified and better defined the emergency powers provided to the Chief Electoral Officer in section 7 of The Election Act, 1996 (the Act). This was in response to recommendations that I had made to the Government of Saskatchewan in advance of that event seeking explicit authority to be able to adapt electoral processes given the presence of COVID-19. The adaptations that I made in 2020 could be broken down into two 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. Given the current state of COVID-19 in the province, I will again be adapting legislation for those same two reasons. 

The changes being made using the authority found in section 7 of the Act will be recorded and communicated to you through CEO Orders. 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 Order along with this Communique as that notice. I would also ask that you communicate this information to your staff, candidates and other party officials. One new CEO Order is attached here:

CEO Order 2022-010 Attendance of Candidate Representatives at Vote by Mail Central Count: This CEO Order sets out the rules and processes by which candidate representatives can observe the count of Vote by Mail ballots. Vote by Mail ballots will be counted in two stages: one count beginning on February 17 and a second taking place at the Final Count on February 28. Registered political parties and independent candidates will be able to appoint one candidate representative to attend each of these counts.

Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan

All information related to the Athabasca by-election can be found online at