2020 Civic Election: citizens exercise vote amid pandemic & postponed election day
Following the postponement of Monday’s election, the election office reports the official voter turnout figures as 58,734 or 27.4 per cent of eligible voters. This figure includes 19,666 ballots cast at advance polls and 8,600 mail-in ballots. The next most comparable turnout was in 2000 when 26.4% of eligible voters cast ballots.
The election office adds 20,906 ballots were cast on Monday, November 9, which is four per cent of eligible voters, and 8,532 ballots cast on Friday, November 13. There are 214,301 eligible voters in Saskatoon.
“Given the environmental challenges confronted, voters went to the polls,” says Returning Officer Scott Bastian. “This election was held during a pandemic and then a severe winter storm rolled over Saskatoon leading into election day. Through it all, an important part was to adjust and comply with provincial legislation and orders,” Bastian says. “Options were provided to voters that fit within boundaries of the law.”
Bastian acknowledges his office experienced challenges, including long lineups at advance polls and the new online mail-in ballot application process. Like past civic elections, the Returning Officer will prepare a report on the 2020 Civic Election to submit to City Council in the first quarter of 2021. The report will outline the election process, successes and challenges faced during this election, and opportunities to pursue for future elections.
“There will be an opportunity to explore facets of the 2020 election with the election office and perhaps in conjunction with other municipalities in Saskatchewan and Elections Saskatchewan,” Bastian adds.
Bastian says the conclusion of an unconventional election is a testament to the dedicated staff working the election and to the community.
“I want to thank all the dedicated election workers who worked advance polls and in care homes and hospitals, carefully following COVID-19 safety protocols, and to those who braved a snowstorm on Monday to open the polls, as well as those who were available again Friday, November 13 to ensure the postponed day went ahead successfully.”
The City of Saskatoon’s official results from the 2020 election are available at electionresults.saskatoon.ca.