Sask. election ballots shipping out this week

Printing companies across Saskatchewan have been hard at work preparing for the provincial election since the Thanksgiving Day long weekend.

Since nominations for the election closed on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been printing throughout the back half of the long weekend to prepare for advanced polls and election day on October 26. Officials estimate the printing process will be complete on Tuesday with ballots being shipped out soon after.

Dr. Michael Boda, chief electoral officer, said 1.3 million ballots will be ready for the 2020 Saskatchewan election during a media availability on Tuesday morning at a printing company in Regina.

“We don’t anticipate we’ll need 1.3 million ballots, but we do is ensure we have more than enough for voters across the province,” noted Boda.

There are three different ways voters will be able to vote this year including mail-in ballots, advanced polls and election day voting.

Boda mentioned there has been a significant rise in voters wanting to participate in vote-by-mail ballots this election due to COVID-19 when comparing numbers from the previous provincial election.

“In 2016, we had about one per cent of voters that took advantage of the vote-by-mail process. One per cent is around 4,000 ballots,” he explained. “In this case as of [Tuesday] morning, we were over 40,000 ballot applications which have been received.”

There is still a little bit of time for people to sign up for mail-in ballots with the deadline set at 11:59 p.m. CST on Thursday, October 15. He encourages people who are interested in voting by mail to go online at the Elections Saskatchewan website to apply and find more information.

Mail-in voters will have until October 26 when polls close at 8:00 p.m. CST to put votes in the mail.

“If you have a ballot now, there is no reason why you wouldn’t fill it and put it in the mail immediately so it can come back and we can begin the process to make sure it is counted,” added Boda.

Other options are available to do a physical application, however he warns voters that the window has really closed to use the postal system to apply for mail-in votes.

Advanced voting takes place from October 20-24.

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