|Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan
|Date: February 5, 2016
|Chief Official Agents
Registered Political Parties of Saskatchewan
|GE28 Communique #2
|Voters List Distribution and New Map Set
Friday greetings to you. We have had another busy week of preparation at Elections Saskatchewan. I am pleased report that we are now halfway through completing the Writ period training of our Field Leadership Team (Returning Officers and Election Clerks), having gathered half our team in Saskatoon from February 1 to 3. The other half will be trained this coming week in Regina, from February 8 to 10. I believe we have a strong, competent group of leaders that are well-equipped to serve you and our 815,000 eligible voters in the weeks ahead.
Below are a few items that you should find useful as you prepare for the coming general election:
- Voters List Distribution: As promised, the preliminary list of voters will be available to you on March 1. The preliminary list (and future lists) will be provided to you in a comma separated values (CSV) format. A sample has been attached that shows the column names that will be included in the CSV file – you may need this to match fields with your internal databases. You can obtain the list in one of two ways:
1. In person at our head office: We will give you the file on a password-protected portable media device.
2. Electronically via the Internet using FTPS: Instructions are attached.
Both methods will require you, as Chief Official Agent, or your party leader to take an oath and sign the E-293, Declaration to Protect the List of Electors, before the data will be released. A copy of that form is attached. If you have questions about this process, you can contact Jordan Arendt at [email protected] or 306.787.5768.
- Map Updates: We have updated the constituency maps that will be used in the coming election and will be mailing you a new set by the end of February. Most changes made to our maps since the last set you received were minor in nature, the most significant being special polls that were added to the Regina Elphinstone-Centre constituency. A change log is attached.
- Returning Offices Opening on Day Writ is Issued: Our returning offices will open to the public (and your candidates and business managers) on the day the writ is issued. Knowing the location of these returning offices may aid some of your candidates in their planning (e.g., submitting nomination papers) so I have attached a document which includes the community that all 61 returning offices will be located in. I hope this will be of assistance to you and your candidates. I have also attached an updated election calendar (v2.0) which clarifies that returning offices will open on the day the writ is issued and not necessarily on March 1. If you need hard copies of this calendar, let my office know. Should your candidates or business managers require assistance before that date, please have them contact our head office through our normal channels of communication.
- Homebound Voting: A number of legislative amendments have been made since the 2011 General Election. One of the more significant changes is the addition of “Homebound Voting.” I have certainly discussed this with you in the past, but want to offer detailed information on how this process will work.
Homebound voting is available to individuals with a disability (as well as their caregivers if they reside in the same constituency) who find it difficult to attend a poll. The process works much the same as that for absentee voting – the voter must apply, and the application must be approved by the Returning Officer. If it is approved, a DRO and Poll Clerk will travel to the individual’s home with a Homebound Voting Kit and facilitate the act of voting. These visits will occur concurrently with advance voting and homebound ballots will be counted after the polls close on election day.
Your candidates will receive a copy of the E-164 List of Homebound Voters which will contain the names, addresses and appointment times for all homebound voters. Section 89.3(5) of The Election Act, 1996 allows for a candidate representative to attend the appointment. Given the potential sensitivity of being in a voter’s home, I would ask that you stress the need for your candidates and their representatives to be respectful and professional at all times. I will expect no less from our election officials.
- Online Constituency Finder Tool: We have created a graphical banner that your party and your candidates can use to link visitors to a tool on our website that allows citizens to look up constituency information. Once the writs of election are issued, this will be updated to include a “Where to Vote” tool that displays information about a voter’s specific voting locations, dates, and times, etc. Have your website manager go to https://www.elections.sk.ca/resource-centre/web-resources and follow the two simple steps to add this banner and link to your website. Contact Tim Kydd, Senior Director, Outreach and Policy, at [email protected] or 306.787.7355 for more information.
- Event Website: Starting February 9, you will see a fresh look to the Elections Saskatchewan homepage (www.elections.sk.ca). With the writ period drawing closer, the homepage will become voter-focused with key information for voters front and centre. This is a common practice among election management bodies. Our regular homepage (and links to our pages for candidates & parties) will still be available from the new homepage – there will a link on the top left corner to redirect to the traditional website. This new look homepage will be in place until April 30.
I will continue to be in regular contact with you through our GE28 Communiques. If you have any questions or a topic that you would like me to address, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me.