August 16, 2023. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Dr. Michael Boda appeared yesterday before the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan to request its acceptance of six proposed CEO Directives that, together, offered a framework for implementing Saskatchewan’s 30th General Election in 2024. The BOIE must approve changes proposed in these CEO Directives for a general election.
The six proposed directives would allow for changes to:
In a prepared statement, the CEO said that his office had been working with the Board, the province’s registered political parties, and stakeholders across the province since 2014 to determine a modern path forward for Saskatchewan’s election system. A modernization initiative to be instituted over elections in 2020, 2024, and 2028 had been established and the six proposed directives under consideration form an integral pillar of that plan.
Given recent correspondence received from the Government House Leader however, the CEO noted the unlikelihood the proposed directive on vote counting equipment would be accepted by government members of the BOIE.
“There are significant risks of eliminating vote counting equipment while continuing to use electronic poll books,” says Dr. Boda. “These risks include increased administrative errors; an increased potential for multiple ballots being deposited into a ballot box; an increased possibility for counting errors; and the possibility that the number of votes in a ballot box will be greater than a person can reasonably count at the end of the last day of voting, to the increased efficiency brought on by instituting electronic poll books.”
Following discussion of the six directives proposed, the BOIE accepted three (Polling Divisions, The Polling Period, and Vote by Mail) while rejecting three (Electronic Poll Books/Voting Record, Vote Counting Equipment, Vote Anywhere).
The CEO was asked to bring forward in September 2023 two new directives, including one that allows for the use of Electronic Poll Books in Saskatchewan cities (traditional voting locations with poll clerks would remain in rural constituencies) and another allowing for changes to ballot counting that would address risks introduced by the elimination of vote counting equipment within the election system.
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.
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