People across Saskatchewan are heading to the polls April 4 to vote in the provincial election, but for those who can't make it to the polls on election day — advanced polling begins Tuesday, March 29 and runs until April 2.
When you go to your local polling station, you need to know when and where to show up, but you might also need to know what ID to bring.
Here's a voting guide.
When will the vote happen?
The provincial election is taking place on April 4, but there is also advance polling from March 29 to April 2.
Who can vote?
To vote you must:
- Be a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents, immigrants and refugees cannot vote.
- Be at least 18 years old as of April 4.
- Have lived in Saskatchewan for at least six months before the election is called.
Are there any special rules around voters?
There are special rules for students, Canadian military personnel, candidates, and British Subjects who have lived in the province a specific time period. Read about them here.
Inmates in a provincial correctional centre may be eligible to vote as an absentee voter by mail.
How do I register to vote?
If you're a registered voter your voter information card should've arrived by mail. It tells you where and when to vote and what ID to bring. If you aren't on the list, you can still vote by registering in person when you go vote, either at an advance poll or on election day.
Anyone who registers at the time of voting must provide identification documents and complete a form in the presence of election officers
You can check if you are registered to vote by calling 1-877-958-8683.
Voter information is stored with Saskatchewan Elections and used in future provincial elections. Voter lists are also shared with political parties and election candidates, but the information can only be used for election purposes.
What ID do I need to vote?
You need ID to prove your identity and address in order to vote. There are three options:
- You can use a driver's licence or other government-issued ID that has your name, photo and address.
- You can show two pieces of ID. Both must have your name and one must have your address. There are more than 50 acceptable documents you can find here. You can use an electronic copy of documents such as a utility bill if you receive them online.
- At the voting stations, you can sign a declaration, and a registered voter from your constituency, such as a neighbour or roommate, may vouch for you. Each person can only vouch once.
What is a Voter Information Card?
The cards are mailed to every registered voter. They tell the voter where and when to vote and it is an acceptable form of ID, but it must be used with another document.
If you received your card but the information isn't correct, go to the Voter Registration page for Elections Saskatchewan or call 1-877-958-8683 to update your information.
Where do I vote?
Again, the Elections Saskatchewan website shows you where you vote. You can also call them at 1-877-958-8683.
You can also look up your constituency here.
How can I vote?
There are six ways to vote in the provincial election:
- You can vote in advance from March 29 to April 2 at specific locations in your constituency. You will still need the same ID. Advance voting hours are March 29 to April 1 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. CST, and April 2 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- You can vote on election day. All voting places across the province are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- You can vote in a personal care home. A full list of voting places in select personal care homes and seniors' homes around the province will be available on the Elections Saskatchewan website closer to election day.
- You can vote in a hospital if you are a patient on April 4, even if it's not in your constituency.
- You can vote in your home if you have a disability. You can make arrangements to have an election worker come over so you and your caregiver can cast a ballot. Once the election is called you can download an application from the Elections Saskatchewan website or call your local returning officer.
- You can vote by mail. This is a good option for out-of-province students and snowbirds. You must apply for an absentee ballot (in French) and mail or email it to Elections Saskatchewan. You will get a voting kit in the mail and the ballot must be marked and mailed back, postmarked by 8 p.m. on April 4.
How do you vote if you are homeless?
If required, people with no fixed address can get a Letter of Stay from a shelter such as the YMCA or Salvation Army to use as ID when voting.
Do I have to return to my First Nation if I live off reserve to vote?
No. You vote in the constituency in which you ordinarily live.
Do I get time off of work to vote?
Every person is entitled to three hours to vote.
What happens at the polls on Election Day?
If you are already registered on election day you will show ID and an election worker will cross your name off of their list. If you are not registered, you will have to register and an election official will take your information and add you to the voter list.
You then get a ballot and will go behind a voting screen where you will mark the candidate of your choice with an X (check marks and other marks are also accepted) and fold your ballot. The election worker will show you what ballot box to put it in.
You have voted.
What happens after polls close?
After the polls close, election officials open the ballot boxes and count each ballot.
Candidates are allowed to have a representative there to watch the count.
The results are passed on to the constituency returning officer and the ballots are resealed in the ballot boxes to await the final count, which actually happens 12 days after the election. The final count happens later because some absentee ballots — including mailed-in, hospital, and remand centre ballots — won't arrive until later.
What if there is a tie?
If there is a tie or a very close election, any candidate can ask for a recount. In some cases recounts are mandatory.
How many political parties are there?
There are six parties registered in Saskatchewan:
- Green Party of Saskatchewan
- New Democratic Party
- Saskatchewan Section Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan
- Saskatchewan Liberal Association
- Saskatchewan Party
- Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan.
Use CBC's Vote Compass to compare the party positions with your own.
How many constituencies are in the province?
There are 61 constituencies for the 2016 election. Find which one you live in here.
How does the voting system work?
In Saskatchewan, the first past the post system is used. That means each voter is allowed to cast one vote for one of the candidates in their constituency. The candidate with the most votes wins. The political party with the most candidates elected throughout the province becomes the government. The leader of that party becomes the Premier.