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COVID-19 protocols won’t restrict long-term care residents from voting: Elections Sask.

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Pandemic safety protocols will not prevent residents of long-term care homes from voting for its next government says Elections Saskatchewan.

“We’ve been working very closely with the chief medical health officer, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and the Ministry of Health in that regard,” said Chief Electoral Officer Michael Boda.

“We want to ensure those living in licensed facilities and long-term care homes in the province continue to have the opportunity to vote.”

FULL COVERAGE: 2020 Saskatchewan Election

The main concern, Boda added, is that COVID-19 procedures laid out by each facility are upheld.

“We also want to make sure all voters are enfranchised.”

Elections Saskatchewan has started to implement a plan for residents of long-term care homes as it works with more than 100 facilities across the province to help deliver the vote.

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“There will be PPE available. There will be a separation between the voter and worker at the common poll. And then in cases where there is a need to go door-to-door, there will be a worker that will work as the go-between in that context,” Boda said.

More details will become available as the Oct. 26 election date nears.

As of now, there are three ways to vote: in person on election day, in-person during advance voting or by mail.

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Elections Saskatchewan says more than 30,000 people have already registered for mail-in voting. Boda expects another 15,000 to 20,000 to sign-up for it before registration closes on Oct. 15.

“In the last election we had about one per cent of voters who registered for postal balloting,” Boda said. “And in this case, we’re anticipating in the area of 10 per cent of those who will participate in the process.”

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The counting will look different this electoral process given the high number of mail-in ballots. Those voting by mail will have until Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. to put their ballot in the mailbox.

Read more: Elections Saskatchewan recruiting up to 17K workers for pandemic vote

Boda says vote-by-mail ballots will be counted after election day and before the final count which is 12 days after the election day.

“It is historically the largest (voting) process the province has had,” Boda said.

And with a historic election, Boda says they will need a historic amount of polls workers.

“In 2016 we had 1,100 poll locations and this year we’ll have over 2,000,” Boda said. “So we do need to have more people in place in order to conduct this election across the province.

Read more: Saskatchewan election tracker 2020: Here’s what the parties are promising

He said there is a shortage of poll workers, particularly in Saskatoon and Yorkton.

“We expect to need 15,000 to 17,000 individuals who will work with us in order to deliver this election on Oct. 26, and advance voting on Oct. 20 – 24,” Boda said.

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To sign up for in-mail voting or work the polls, visit Elections Saskatchewan.

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