Polls to close early, Saskatoon election to be postponed until Nov. 13 in wake of snowstorm
SASKATOON -- The city's election office will take advantage of a ministerial order issued on Monday permitting municipalities hit hard by this weekend's snowstorm to push back their election dates.
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"We are closing all polls at 6:30 p.m. today. Voters who have not yet had the chance will have an opportunity to cast their ballot on Friday, November 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.," the city said in a news release.
"There will be a condensed number of locations, much like advanced polls, at Cosmo Civic Centre, Lawson Civic Centre, Lakewood Civic Centre, Shaw Centre, and City Hall (Committee Room E)."
The city acknowledged the delay in making the announcement and said staff was having ongoing discussions throughout the day with Government Relations Minister Lori Carr's office working out the details of the plan.
“This is certainly unconventional, and we appreciate the frustration many of our citizens have felt about not knowing what options they had to vote,” returning officer Scott Bastian said in a news release announcing the decision.
“This is why we continued to encourage those who could, to go to the polls. All except one were open by midday.
"We wanted to seek out the best solution possible for our citizens in order to choose their community leaders. We needed to be sure we were in compliance with the Minister’s Order in order to work through this difficult situation.”
On Monday morning, the provincial government issued an order allowing municipal returning election officers to delay the Nov. 9 civic elections, if weather conditions impeded the ability of voters to get to the polls.
Municipalities have until Nov. 25 to hold a civic election, if it is postponed.
Polling stations were scheduled to open at 8 a.m., Monday morning. As of 11 a.m., 63 of 65 polling locations in the city were open, according to Bastian. Some were able to open at 8 a.m., while others opened later in the morning. Bastian said it takes about 600 election employees to run the 65 polling stations.
In a series of tweets, incumbent mayoral candidate Charlie Clark said while the decision rested with Bastian he supports "any and all efforts to ensure that people will be able to exercise their right to vote safely."
Saskatoon was hit by two storms over the weekend. The first, on Saturday, brought around 10 to 15 centimetres of snow and the second, on Sunday and Monday morning, was expected to bring up to 30 centimetres.