SASKATOON -- A political expert says he doesn't understand why the city's election returning officer waited until late Monday afternoon to postpone the civic election.Polls

Through a ministerial order, the province offered the option for municipal returning officers in communities still digging out from the weekend snowstorm to postpone the Nov. 9 election.

Late Monday morning after the order was issued, the city's returning officer Scott Bastian said the option of postponement was being considered. 

However, the decision to hold a scaled-down version of election day on Nov. 13 — with fewer polling stations — wasn't announced until late in the day.

"We saw in the case of Saskatoon, our chief electoral officer waited until 5 p.m. to make that decision to postpone. Yet we look at the city of Swift Current, with the same information from the province … making that decision much earlier at 10:30 in the morning," University of Saskatchewan political scientist Greg Poelzer told CTV News. 

"Anyone you talk to doesn't really understand why wait until 5 p.m., because you're almost near the end of the voting day."

On Monday, the city acknowledged the delay in making the decision public and said staff had been engaged in discussions throughout the day with the province, 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,” Bastian said in a news release announcing the decision.

According to Poelzer, electoral research shows uncertainty around the election process can lead to lower voter turnout.

"We saw the controversy that was around the mail-in ballots in Saskatoon, now a bit of controversy around postponement and the further to have fewer polling stations available, all that is not going to be good for voter turnout overall," Poelzer said.

"Electoral studies show that unless you have strong institutions and strong capacity and looks like we're running a professional election then that should, unfortunately, hurt voter turnout," Poelzer said.