Elections Saskatchewan preparing for general election as early as spring

Premier Scott Moe fields questions from reporters on March 5 regarding a snap election. Dave Parsons / Global News

Elections Saskatchewan says they will be prepared to administer the twenty-ninth general election as early as spring, which arrives exactly one day after the provincial budget is released on March 18.

Chief Electoral Officer, Michael Boda, has informed his head office and field leadership teams that “we must be ready.”

Elections Saskatchewan says they’re planning for a snap election following comments from Premier Scott Moe.

“As I’ve said many, many times… the fact of the matter is the premier does reserve the right… to call an election any time,” said Moe on Thursday in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says coronavirus not a factor in election call

Moe said his government is planning for the Oct. 26 election date, but also hinted the election will be “sooner than soon, but not as soon as very, very, very soon.”

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Fixed-date elections have been in place in Saskatchewan since 2008 after the Brad Wall government introduced a new law. However, legislation remains flexible enough that the Legislative Assembly can be dissolved to cause an election.

NDP opposition leader Ryan Meili said it sounds “more and more as if the premier wants to go early to the polls.”

“If he chooses to do this, it’s not because it’s good for the Saskatchewan people. It’s because it’s good for Scott Moe,” Meili said.

Regardless of when the election is called, both parties say they will be prepared.

“The timing of this election is one conversation. The much larger conversation is what this election is about, and what the parties stand for,” Moe said.

Neither party has a complete slate of candidates to run in Saskatchewan’s 61 constituencies.

The Sask. Party needs to find five more candidates, while the NDP needs to find 31 candidates.

Potential of early election derail plans to modernize polling stations

Electors in Saskatchewan have been voting with pen and pencil for over 113 years, and it will remain that way this election.

The organization was aiming to roll out new technology for the fall election that would have been more efficient, transparent and consistent said Boda.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe won’t commit to fall election; cites national unrest

Electronic poll books and tabulators were to be introduced this fall, but that has now been rolled back.

“I have concluded that we cannot be prepared to run an election earlier than October 26, 2020 and move forward with modernization,” said Boda in a statement. “I have decided instead to suspend our modernization efforts for this election cycle and focus on implementing a traditional election in order to ensure the integrity of our process.”

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Elections Saskatchewan will resume their modernization efforts “immediately” after the 29th general election.”

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