Stay safe - vote by mail says Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer
- Kerry Benjoe | January 27, 2022
Voters in the Athabasca riding will have a chance to decide who will represent them on Feb. 15, but Michael Boda, the head of Election Saskatchewan and Chief Electoral Officer, urges everyone to stay safe from inclement weather or the omicron virus by applying to vote by mail.
The Athabasca seat was previously held by long-time NDP MLA Buckley Belanger. In August, he resigned to run in the federal election, but fell short of his goal. He represented the riding consecutively for 26 years.
Saskatchewan Party Candidate Jim Lemaigre recently announced his intent to run in the by-election.
Lemaigre will be going up against veteran politician and current La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois who will represent the Saskatchewan NDP.
Nominations for this by-election close on Jan. 29.
Boda said the safety of the voters is top of mind as it was this past summer during the general election. All COVID safety precautions will be in place to prevent the spread of the virus, however, Election Saskatchewan does not have any control over the weather.
Because the by-election is happening in the winter in a sparsely populated l riding the weather may become a safety concern for some, which is why he is urging voters to go to www.elections.sk.ca/voters/voting-by-mail/ where they can fill out the form online or download it, fill it out and mail it back before the Feb 4 deadline. Voters can also call 1-833-419-0141 to get more information or assistance.
According to Elections Saskatchewan, as of January 18, 2022, there are 9,293 registered voters in Athabasca. Any eligible voter who is not already on this list and misses this deadline can still register in person at the polls, but voting by mail is encouraged.
Advance polling is scheduled from Feb. 9-13 from noon until 8.p.m. daily.
On Feb. 15, By-election day polls will be open from 9 a.m. until 8.p.m.
Mail-out ballots must also be placed in the mail by 8 p.m.
On Feb 17, the mail ballots will be counted and added to the final tally on Feb. 28.
Boda said at the last general election the mail-out ballots played a significant role in some ridings.
He said election workers are also needed for this event.
Workers can earn up to $230 for working voting day, and even more for working the five days of advance voting. Election workers must be a Saskatchewan resident for the last six months, and at least 16 years of age. You can apply online at www.elections.sk.ca/takepart or by calling 1-833-419-0141.
The Athabasca riding covers the northwestern part of the province and includes communities such as Ile a la Crosse, Buffalo Narrows and La Loche.
According to Elections Saskatchewan, during last year’s provincial election Belanger captured 1,730 votes while Kelly Kwan of the SaskParty received 1,112. The Saskatchewan Green Party candidate Leroy Laliberte received 204 votes.