Voters across Saskatchewan will head to the polls twice in two weeks in 2020 for the provincial and municipal elections.
The provincial election will take place Oct. 26, and the municipal and school board elections will take place Nov. 9.
Premier Scott Moe, Attorney General Don Morgan and Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding made a joint announcement Wednesday that more time will be provided between the two election dates.
The province introduced new legislation to amend election laws, fixing provincial and municipal and school board election dates. Under current legislation, the elections would have been held within five days of each other.
Going forward, the plan is to have the provincial election take place on the last Monday of October on a four-year cycle. Municipal elections will take place on the second Wednesday of November, unless it Remembrance Day.
“After consulting extensively with both rural and urban municipalities, it was clear they wanted to keep their elections in the fall of 2020,” Moe said.
“We believe we have reached a reasonable compromise that will allow local officials time to prepare for these changes.”
The proposed change is primarily welcomed by organizations representing municipal governments and the school division.
“Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is pleased that voters in Saskatchewan’s hometowns will continue to head to the polls every four years to elect their municipal government,” SUMA president Gordon Barnhart said.
“Our hometown governments are the order of government closest to the people and established election dates promote accountability and transparency.”
“Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is generally satisfied with the municipal election date being moved to November 9,2020,” SARM president Ray Orb said.
“Our members did not want to postpone municipal elections by one year and although a date change was not our preferred option, the current option will allow time for our farmers to complete harvest and will not interfere with SARM’s Midterm Convention 2020.”
“We are pleased the dates have been chosen and we respect the Government of Saskatchewan’s authority to make this decision,” Saskatchewan School Boards Association president Dr. Shawn Davidson said.
“We believe that this change will be less challenging than other options that were considered and we look forward to ongoing partnership and collaboration. Locally elected boards will continue to work hard to represent the families and communities that elect us.”
Moe added the provincial election will take place before the municipal election because it makes it easier for a fall sitting of the legislative session to happen before Christmas.
“Fall provincial elections make sense because they don’t disrupt the legislative calendar,” Moe said. “The government can still introduce the throne speech in the fall and a budget at the usual time in the spring.”
The premier added a two-week difference in election dates previously happened in 1991 and 2003.