I have only one significant message for you today, along with a brief update on advance voting.

Constituency of Athabasca – Use of CEO Section 7 Powers

On Wednesday, March 30, in the Constituency of Athabasca an advance poll team in the community of La Loche failed to show up at the start of advance voting and open their poll at 3 p.m. As soon as the returning officer became aware of the problem, a back-up team of advance poll officials was dispatched to La Loche. In the end, the La Loche advance poll did not open until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30. I found this very concerning and it is my opinion that this may result in a substantial number of voters in that community not having the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Given the circumstances, I have decided that on Saturday, April 2, the last day of advance voting, the advance poll in La Loche will open at 9:30 a.m. (instead of 12:00 noon) and stay open until the normal closing time of 7 p.m. This will ensure voters in that community are served by advance voting to the same standard and commitment as every other advance voting location. We will communicate this extension of hours to voters in that community.

I am authorizing this extension under the powers found in Section 7(2)(b) of The Election Act, 1996. Please accept this as my formal notice to you under Section 7(3) of the Act. I would ask you to provide this information to your candidates in that constituency as well. In accordance with the Act, I will issue a formal report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly within 60 days.

Advance Voting – Day Two Report

Yesterday, 20,920 voters cast their ballot compared to 13,670 on the second day of advance voting in 2011 – an increase of 53 percent for the second day in a row.