The provincial government is introducing amendments to make it easier for Saskatchewan residents to vote in future provincial elections.
The Election Amendment Act, 2014 will establish a permanent voter registry and remove the requirement for door-to-door enumeration. A final door-to-door count will be taken prior to the next election. The Act will also remove restrictions on who can vote at advance polls and provide for home-bound voting for voters with a disability.
“Our goal with these amendments is to improve voter access to the electoral process in future elections,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said. “We want to ensure every Saskatchewan resident has the opportunity to participate in the electoral process, particularly those who face personal challenges in casting their vote.”
The new home-bound voting provisions will allow voters with a disability to apply to have election officials come to their home to take their vote. Additional changes will broaden voter assistance provisions and make it easier for voters to designate a friend or access an interpreter to help them cast their vote.
The Act also makes Saskatchewan the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide special residence recognition to voters serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Active members of the military from Saskatchewan will retain their Saskatchewan residency while serving outside the province. Members of the Armed Forces coming from outside the province to serve in Saskatchewan will immediately be able to vote in provincial elections.
“We recognize the sacrifice our military makes to protect this country and are proud to be the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement this change,” Wyant said. “It’s important that the men and women who serve in our military be given every opportunity to participate in the democracy they work so diligently to protect.”
These changes will go into effect prior to the next general election. The proposed improvements to The Elections Act were developed in consultation with the Official Opposition.