Saskatchewan's NDP caucus is floating an idea for how to address the collision of two elections in 2020: one ballot, on the same day, covering both contests.
The caucus recently met with Saskatoon city councillors to discuss the issue. Various municipal elections are set for Oct. 28, 2020, while the next provincial election is currently scheduled a mere five days after that.
"This came through people approaching us and saying, this is a possible solution," said David Forbes, the NDP MLA for Saskatoon Centre.
Of councillors reaction to the idea, Forbes said, "Some were saying that the electors can handle two elections close together; others felt maybe it wasn't our decision to be making."
Mayor prefers separate dates
Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark said having one election date might help improve voter turnout, but added, "I just don't think it would be as informed a vote. And I think the issues, campaigns could get confused."
For that reason — and because municipal elections are different from provincial ones, where party politics are in play — Clark believes there should be separate elections dates — albeit ones separated by more than just five days.
"By several months I think is ideal," he said.
While the one-stop-shop idea hasn't been officially endorsed by the NDP caucus, Forbes noted that now having one permanent voters list would compliment it. He said the combined-ballot idea has precedent in places like the U.S.
"There has been a lot of innovation. Maybe this is one we should really be taking a look at," he added.
Even if it doesn't gain any traction, the idea might stoke discussion about how else to approach the doubling-up, Forbes said.