June 4, 2024 – As Elections Saskatchewan releases its annual report for last year, the focus now shifts to the rest of this year as the province prepares for the October general election.

A key initiative in this preparation includes opening the vote-by-mail application period, which takes effect tomorrow. That means any registered voter who prefers to vote by mail instead of in-person in the October election can now submit their application.

“My office has spent much of the past year refining a modernized voting system, testing it in simulations, and determining what aspects we’ll use in this fall’s provincial election,” says Dr. Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer for Saskatchewan. “Aside from the vote-by-mail option this October, voters will see innovative technologies such as electronic pollbooks using barcode scanners to read voter information cards, more hours to vote, fewer election workers needed, and a centralized vote by mail program that offers broader access to the ballot for everyone.”

“Voting by mail is a safe and secure alternative to voting in-person. It is a postal voting process that is more efficient and accessible than the absentee process used not too long ago in Saskatchewan elections. There has been a dramatic increase in interest and applications for mail-in ballots, from just 4,400 in the 2016 provincial election to more than 61,000 applications in the 2020 provincial election. Voting by mail is a two-step process that begins tomorrow, June 5, when the application window opens.”

It is important to note that vote-by-mail ballots are not automatically mailed to every voter, as is the case in some jurisdictions outside Canada. Eligible voters must first apply in advance for one and provide a copy of ID with their application. Voters may do so either online at www.elections.sk.ca/votebymail, or by calling 1-833-419-0141 to ask for an application. If your application is accepted, a ballot kit will be mailed to your residence or other location as soon as the election begins this fall. Ballot kits must be mailed back to Elections Saskatchewan before the last day to vote.

A second primary activity of Elections Saskatchewan is voter registration. Last month was Voter Registration Month, and all eligible voters were encouraged to register, check, or update their voter information during May. As of May 31, 2024, there are now 807,345 registered voters on the provincial voters list.

“Voter registration month was the unofficial kick-off to the general election campaign. Through a province-wide advertising campaign, we encouraged new voters to register, and current voters to check or update their voter information with us,” Dr. Boda explains. “But registration doesn’t end because May is over. Our online registration portal is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.elections.sk.ca/register. Being registered in advance means personalized voter information cards will arrive in the mail soon after the writs of election are issued. This card tells voters where and when to vote.

“A third important focus of ours has been recruiting our senior field leadership team. I am proud to say that we now have a returning officer and election clerk in place in all 61 constituencies. These community leaders are busy setting up their returning offices, readying supplies, hiring office staff, and finding voting locations that are both convenient for voters to get to and meet our accessibility requirements.

“With the use of e-pollbooks in 34 of the 61 constituencies this coming election, we require far less election workers than past events. But there are still plenty of jobs that will come available later this summer. I encourage anyone interested in working at a voting location during Voting Week to keep an eye on our website for our call for election workers.

“Elections Saskatchewan exists to serve the public good. All of these activities and priorities ensure an accessible, reliable, modernized voting system that will safeguard our democratic traditions into the future.”

The Elections Saskatchewan 2023-2024 Annual Report can be viewed online at www.elections.sk.ca/reports-data.

Elections Saskatchewan (ESK) is the province’s nonpartisan election management body and an independent office of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. ESK directs and supervises the administration of provincial electoral events including Saskatchewan’s next general election, scheduled, by legislation, for October 28, 2024. Information for voters, workers, media, candidates, and parties at www.elections.sk.ca.

For more information contact:

Tim Kydd
Senior Director, Outreach & Communications
Elections Saskatchewan
[email protected]