May 13, 2020

Chief Electoral Officer Given Clear Authority to Ensure Safe Election

The Government of Saskatchewan today approved changes to The Election Act Regulations to give the Chief Electoral Officer clear authority to take any necessary action to ensure the October 26 provincial election is conducted safely, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all having to adapt to a ‘new normal’ of carrying on with our lives, but doing so in a way that reduces the spread of COVID-19,” Premier Scott Moe said.  “The fall provincial election will go ahead as planned, but it might look a little different.  The Chief Electoral Officer wanted to make sure that he had the authority to make any changes to the voting process he feels are necessary to ensure a safe and successful election, so the government is strengthening his emergency powers to ensure he has that authority.”

The regulation changes clearly define a public health emergency as an emergency under The Elections Act and give the Chief Electoral Officer the power to adapt any provision of the Act as necessary to reduce a health risk to the public.

“Everyone needs to feel safe about going to vote this fall,” Moe said.  “That means ensuring good physical distancing practices for both voters and Elections Saskatchewan workers to follow, just like we do now in grocery stores and other public places.

“I have every confidence that Elections Saskatchewan will take the right steps to ensure a safe election for everyone.”

Also, following consultation with municipal organizations, the provincial government delayed this year’s resort village elections from July 25 to August 29.