Yesterday the Returning Officer and Election Clerk in Saskatoon Fairview completed the final count. See below for information on the final results of the by-election.
Following the final count for Saskatoon Fairview completed yesterday, the winning candidate, Vicki Mowat of the N.D.P., remains unchanged. The final results include absentee ballots – there was neither a hospital or remand poll in this by-election.
There were also 11 ballots rejected during the by-election. Voter turnout, as a percentage of registered voters was 35.9 percent. This number will change slightly when election materials are returned to our office after the return to the writ and we process voter registrations that were completed at the time of voting. Saskatoon Fairview had a turnout of 50.1 percent during the April 2016 general election. As we have discussed, a decrease in turnout during a by-election is not unexpected but, more broadly, turnout remains a concern in our province.
Final results have been posted to our website at http://results.elections.sk.ca/.
While having no impact on the final results, there are two administrative issues that I want to share with you.
A first relates to an adjustment of the total votes between the final count and the preliminary results. On the top of the results page listed above, you should see tabs that will allow you to toggle between the final and the preliminary results. In assessing the total votes on each of these pages, you will observe a difference of 24 total votes between the Final Count and the Preliminary Results (4,596 vs. 4,572); but just 22 absentee ballots were added during the final count. An additional two ballots have been included because two rejected ballots that had not been accounted for and entered into our election management system during the preliminary count were discovered during the final count. The number of ballots was, therefore, adjusted upward by two. This is an excellent opportunity to emphasize that, while for the media and the voting public, the election may be over on election night, there are still important legitimate and legislated reconciliation activities that take place during the final count that allow Elections Saskatchewan to ensure count accuracy.
Second, I am advised that a couple of issues arose in administering our absentee ballot procedures and count. When you, as registered political parties, received the list of absentee voters, it had 21 names on it. There were, in fact, 22 absentee voters in total. An omission occurred during data entry from a handwritten list to the electronic one that was provided to you. Also, I am advised that of the 22 absentee ballots received during this by-election, there was one that should not have been counted because the individual resided outside the constituency of Saskatoon Fairview. While the problem was noted upon receipt and the ballot had been set aside as rejected during the final count, due to an administrative error, that ineligible ballot was placed into the ballot box and, therefore, counted. Once placed in the ballot box, there was no way to retrieve the specific ballot or to disqualify it without rejecting all the absentee votes. Given that the single ballot would not alter the results, I deemed it appropriate not to disqualify all the absentee ballots.
Moving forward, we will be examining our processes and procedures to see what can be done to prevent these types of administrative issues in the future. If you have questions or comments, I hope that you won’t hesitate to contact me.
Barring any unexpected issues, we will complete the return to the writ next Saturday, at which time the Saskatoon Fairview by-election will officially come to a close.
All the best until then.
Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan
For additional information on the Saskatoon Fairview by-election, including a link to all CEO Communiques, visit www.elections.sk.ca/fairview.