February 25, 2019 – Elections Saskatchewan, the province’s election management body, has received international recognition as a recipient of a Zero Project Innovative Practices and Policies Award.
The Zero Project works for a world with zero barriers by supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Annually, the Zero Project selects the policies and practices as the most innovative in improving the lives of persons with disabilities.
The Elections Saskatchewan’s Accessibility Implementation Plan has been recognized for one of this year’s awards. The plan guided Saskatchewan’s election management body in improving the services offered to voters with disabilities, as well as voters who required special assistance such as older people, prior to the 2016 provincial general election. The plan was designed to address four problematic areas:
- Offering more voting options to the citizens of Saskatchewan;
- Improving accessibility of our polling locations;
- Improving the products and services offered at polls;
- Expanding voter information and public education.
“It is humbling to receive international recognition and we sincerely appreciate the assistance we received from our province’s accessibility community and the hard work of thousands of election workers who made the plan into a reality,” says Dr. Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer of Saskatchewan. Dr. Boda accepted the award for Elections Saskatchewan at the 2019 Zero Project Conference held last week at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. “I’d also like to thank the Zero Project for recognizing that work.”
“It wasn’t as much the solutions that were innovative, but more the process at which we went about our work. We consulted with our stakeholders in the accessibility community, truly listening to their concerns about their client’s voting experiences. This consultation was a partnership we entered with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
“We took that feedback to heart and implemented changes prior to the 2016 provincial election. The changes included introducing homebound voting, opening advance voting to all voters, creating a standardized list of accessibility criteria when selecting our 1,000 voting locations, improving the assistive tools at polls, and improving our voter information card and election outreach materials including an accessibility video as part of our election worker training.”
“We view this recognition as the beginning, and not the conclusion, of our accessibility improvements. We are planning for the next provincial general election in 2020 and that includes consulting again with Saskatchewan’s accessibility and senior’s communities to take our accessibility plan to the next level of removing barriers for all.”
Elections Saskatchewan is the province’s independent, impartial, professional election management body. Given a mandate from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, it organizes, manages and oversees provincial electoral events. Information for voters, workers, media, candidates and parties at www.elections.sk.ca.
For more information contact:
Senior Director, Outreach & Communications