Rethinking Provincial Elections in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer has released a paper with ideas for future elections in the province.

Dr. Michael Boda says the paper includes three broad categories of opportunity. He explains one of the areas would be moving from the mindset of an “Election Day” to an “Election Period”. This means expanding the period of time in which people can vote, and giving voters more of an opportunity to participate. Boda says this could include something like an election week, which the province is already progressing towards with advanced voting and the vote-by-mail system.

Also included in the paper are the ideas of modernizing election processes and administration and broadening the province’s access to voting.

To modernize the election process Boda says they want to include e-poll books, something couldn’t be done in 2020 due to the pandemic. He explains people would bring their voter information cards to the polling station, it would get scanned and voter information would pop-up immediately. Boda believes this would allow for greater efficiency in running the polls and reduce lines.

Another idea is a vote tabulator, which Boda says isn’t about voting online or by machine, but instead the votes are counted in a tabulator machine.

When it comes to broadening access to voting in Saskatchewan, Boda says one of the ways to do this is by integrating in-person voting, by eliminating the separation of advance polling and election day. Boda says they would also reinforce vote-by-mail, which saw an increase from one per cent of voters to twelve per cent last year. Boda suggests they are also looking at a vote anywhere policy which would see people working away from home have their vote still counted in their riding.

Boda says his paper is about laying out some ideas before he produces any recommendations for legislative change. Those recommendations are due up next year, and legislators have until the next election on October 28th, 2024 to make any changes.

See the full paper here. 

More from Play92