Ministerial order allows Saskatchewan municipalities to delay elections due to weather

Municipal elections in Saskatchewan could be postponed under a government order.

Nov. 9 is municipal election day in the province, but record-setting snowfall in parts of the province is hampering voting.

Under the order issued Monday morning by the minister of government relations, Lori Carr, each municipality’s returning officer can postpone elections.

“If in the opinion of a Returning Officer appointed under the Act, the weather conditions on Nov. 9, 2020, impede the ability for voters to attend the poll(s) in order to vote, including in situations where voting day polls have already opened, the returning officer may postpone the general election of the municipality, school division or ward,” states the order.

Read more: Saskatoon continues to dig out from weekend snowfall

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The municipal elections would have to be held on or before Nov. 25.

“Local returning officers should exercise this authority with caution and clearly communicate with their citizens regarding any changes in their election day,” said a government statement.

“The safety of citizens is the first priority of the government of Saskatchewan. In signing this order, that safety can also continue to be ensured at a local level during these elections.”

Read more: Blizzard forces Swift Current to postpone its municipal, school board election

Swift Current has postponed its municipal election until Nov. 12.

“The first priority in an election is to ensure that all voters are able to cast their ballots on election day,” said Swift Current municipal election returning officer Jackie Schlamp.

“With the significant accumulation of snow we have experienced here in Swift Current over the last 24 hours, causing most city streets to be impassable at this time, we will be moving election day to Thursday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

FULL COVERAGE: Saskatoon municipal election

In Saskatoon, election workers are having trouble getting to polling stations due to ice- and snow-covered roads. Many streets in the city are impassible.

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Saskatoon’s returning officer is scheduled to address the situation at an 11 a.m. news conference.

FULL COVERAGE: Regina municipal election

In Regina, crews were out in the morning plowing in front of polling stations.

“It is important to ensure residents can have their say in our municipal government,” said a statement from the City of Regina.

“As the snow is expected to continue throughout the day, crews will return to these locations later today.”

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