Voting by mail will be one of the options Saskatchewan voters will have in the 2020 provincial election.
“During these uncertain times, we want to make sure the public knows about this additional option for voting, particularly to those who feel there is a health risk,” said Saskatchewan’s chief electoral officer, Michael Boda.
“We’ve hired additional staff to handle the anticipated increase of vote by mail applications. But deadlines are involved so voters should apply now!”
Saskatchewan has offered absentee voting — vote by mail — in previous elections.
Elections Saskatchewan said roughly 1 per cent of ballots cast in 2016 — 4,420 absentee ballots out of 434,244 total votes — were by mail.
“Mail-in ballots aren’t new to provincial elections but have traditionally been used by students studying outside the province and snowbirds travelling to warmer locations,” Boda said.
The last provincial election saw seven constituencies with races separated by fewer than 400 votes.
People will have until 8 p.m. to mail-in ballots on election day, which means some could arrive after Oct. 26.
Boda said some MLA seats might not be decided on election day.
“It is possible that on election day, the difference between the winner and the loser will be smaller than the number of vote-by-mail ballots that we’re still waiting on,” he added.
Officials said there is a two-step process in order to vote by mail.
The first is to complete an application, which can be done online at Elections Saskatchewan.
Voters can also contact 1-877-958-8683 and ask for an application to be mailed to them.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 15.
Once applications are approved, Elections Saskatchewan said voting kits will be mailed to voters in late September.
It includes a ballot and a postage-paid envelope and voters can return their ballots as soon as they receive them.
All vote by mail ballots must be received by Elections Saskatchewan by noon on Nov. 5.
Saskatchewan is poised to hold a provincial election on Oct. 26.
-With files from Kyle Benning