Saskatoon community association asks city hall for review of civic election

A member of the Nutana Community Association is calling for a thorough review of Saskatoon's last civic election, citing many problems voters said they had casting their ballot.

The Nutana Community Association (NCA) is asking Saskatoon city council to conduct a thorough review of the 2020 civic election.

Robert Clipperton, a member of the NCA, told the governance and priorities committee on Monday the city must work to make the next election better than the last.

“There have been few, if any allegations of voter suppression affecting the outcome of any of the races,” he said, “but imagine how loud the criticisms would have been if we’d have multiple races decided by handfuls of votes.”

“I’m not here to lay blame,” Clipperton said, acknowledging the election took place during two “almost unique events,” referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and the blizzard that struck the city the night before the election.

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He presented a litany of complaints about the voting process that ranged from people not being told why their ballots were rejected to poor information about polling locations and the hours they were open.

“There must be a problem with the process if this many applications were completed incorrectly,” he told the committee, referring to the nearly 26 per cent of mail-in ballots applications the city rejected.

He said his comments to the committee reflected the views of hundreds of people to whom he has spoken.

He asked that a review include recommendations from reports on previous elections and include input from the public and experts who live outside of the city.

Responding to Coun. Darren Hill, Clipperton said he could submit his comments for further review. Interim city clerk Mike Jordon, responding to a question from Cynthia Block, said the returning officer, Scott Bastian, is currently writing a report on the election.

Hill moved Clipperton’s comments be submitted to Bastian and included in his report.

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