Chief Electoral Officer Lowell Croken wrote a letter to all the Island's party leaders this week suggesting the earliest his office could be ready for a provincial election would be in the new year.

Most political observers are expecting Premier Pat Binns to call an election in the spring, but some have suggested he might go early.

Croken said new polling divisions still need to be designed, described, and mapped out, and he suspects that process won't be done until the end of November. Then there would be public meetings in December to ensure everything was done accurately.

The new electoral map was approved by the legislature in a special sitting in June.

The letter states Croken hopes all the prep work will be done by the end of the year. And maps would then be sent to the parties in early January.

Despite Croken's predicted timeline, Binns can call an election whenever he wants. Croken would then have to speed up a process he says is already tight.