Ballot Count Confirmation, Final Count, Recount

Ballot Count Confirmation – Monday, August 14

As outlined in CEO Directive 2023-008, the Ballot Count Confirmation was held on Monday, August 14 at Dieppe School in Regina.  Justice John Klebuc, Fmr. Chief Justice of Saskatchewan and Dr. Keith Archer, Fmr. Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia oversaw the inspection and counting of all ballots that had been counted with vote counting equipment from the Regina Walsh Acres by-election as well as one ballot box each from the Lumsden-Morse and Regina Coronation Park by-elections, chosen at random. 

The process resulted in hand counts for each by-election that matched exactly the results produced by the vote counting equipment. Justice Klebuc and Dr. Archer’s report on the Ballot Count Confirmation can be found here:

Final Count – Tuesday, August 22

The Final Count for the three by-elections will take place on Tuesday, August 22 (12 days after by-election day, consistent with legislation). The Final Count will take place in different locations – see below for more information.

Final Count – Returning Office

The Final Count in each constituency’s Returning Office will begin at 9 a.m. on August 22. A candidate may attend, or they may appoint a candidate representative to attend in their place.

At this portion of the Final Count:

  • The Returning Officer counts any votes cast using special voting procedures that have not yet been counted and records them. For this by-election, there are no votes that will be counted in the returning office at the final count.
  • Results from election night are reviewed but these ballots are not counted again.
  • Results are verified in Elections SK’s election management system and spoiled and declined ballots are also entered into the system.

All candidate representatives who attend the Final Count must have an E-417 appointment form – a copy of which can be found on our website at candidates-political-parties/forms-and-guides/. Anyone who does not have the appointment form will not be able to stay for the Final Count. In addition, every person who attends the Final Count must 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. 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

Beginning at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, August 22, we will conduct the Final Count of Vote by Mail (VBM) 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 August 12. All Vote by Mail ballot kits received between August 9 and end of day on August 21 will be counted. As of August 14, we have adjudicated 217 Vote by Mail ballots that will be counted at the Final Count plus any additional ones that are returned by August 21.  

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 [email protected].

The counting of ballots will begin promptly at 1:00 on August 22.

Recount Information

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 financial agent under the following two circumstances:

  • If the two candidates with the most votes have the same number of votes following the Final Count;
  • If, after the Final Count, the margin of victory of the candidate declared elected is less than the total number of all unopened ballot envelopes, rejected ballots and ballots objected to.

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 these by-elections, neither of the requirements listed above have been met which means that there cannot be an automatic recount.

There are also circumstances where a candidate or financial agent can apply to a judge of the Court of King’s Bench for a recount or addition. These are:

  • The candidate or financial agent is not entitled to request a recount or and addition pursuant to section 155; or
  • The candidate or financial agent has made a request for a recount or an addition and the returning officer failed to comply with section 155 (e.g., the returning officer did not apply to a judge for a recount upon being requested to do so).

In circumstances where a candidate is not entitled to request an automatic recount, the application must be made to the Court of King’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 King’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 King’s Bench location in Regina 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