Civic Election Update: Mail-In Ballot Applications
Like the pandemic and its uncertainty, the response for mail-in ballots has been unprecedented. Thousands of Saskatoon residents have chosen the option to vote by mail for the 2020 Civic Election and are taking part in the important democratic process of electing their mayor, city councillors and public or Catholic school board trustees. To date, the Civic Elections Office has received over 14,000 mail-in ballot applications through the online form.
The Civic Elections Office acknowledges some voters have not had a smooth online application experience. This is the first election the online application has been offered and it’s been a slower than anticipated process in replying to residents that their mail-in ballot application has been received.
We recognize there are improvements to make in future elections. More immediately the Election Office is addressing the concern and has added additional staff and work hours to support the process of reviewing, approving, creating the ballot package specific to the ward for which the voter has applied, and mailing the ballot packages out.
The civic election mail-in ballot application review process takes longer to verify for each voter. Municipal elections in Saskatchewan do not rely on an established voter’s list. It is a different process than the provincial election and it requires more checks because there are three races – mayor, councillor and public or Catholic school board trustee.
After careful review, mail-in ballot applications may be rejected due to incomplete information, the form only partially filled out, or in some instances, identification not supplied.
If your application for a mail-in ballot has been rejected, there are other options for you to cast your ballot. With COVID safety protocols in place at all voting locations, we invite residents to consider in-person voting options such as the advance polls October 30 to November 5, or on Election Day, November 9. The 2020 Voter’s Guide on saskatoon.ca/vote2020 has the dates, times and details on safety at the polls.
The provincial law for municipal elections states that mail-in ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on election day (Monday, November 9) by the 2020 Civic Election Office officials in order to be counted.
Mail-in Ballot process update for voters:
- For voters who do receive their mail-in ballot package before November 2, mark your candidates and promptly send your ballot back in the mail using the postage-paid envelope provided.
- For voters who receive their mail-in ballot package on or after November 2, given the uncertainty of mailing times, plan to drop your mail-in ballot off in-person or have a designate drop it off for you at the election office (226 Cardinal Crescent) before 8 p.m. November 9.
- Due to the high volume of mail-in applications received and awaiting verification, in the coming days, we will identify additional city facilities where voters can drop off their mail-in ballots before election day.
The election team wishes to thank all Saskatoon residents for their patience as we are working with full force to process the unprecedented and amazing demand for mail-in ballots.