Saskatoon

Mail-in ballots could push Sask. voter numbers higher than 2016 election

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more people in Saskatchewan may have voted in this year's provincial election than in 2016.

More than 385,000 people voted in-person, 61,255 mail-in ballots issued

While most voters went to polling stations like the one above, an unprecedented 61,255 mail-in ballots were issued this election. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more people in Saskatchewan may have voted in this year's provincial election than in 2016.

According to Elections Saskatchewan, 385,461 people cast their ballots in person across the province this year. 

As well, an unprecedented 61,255 mail-in ballots were issued this election. However, it's not yet known how many people actually completed those ballots and put them in the mailbox.

If all of the mail-in ballots are received by Elections Saskatchewan, a total of 446,716 voters, or 53 per cent of eligible voters, will have cast their ballots.

That would be an increase of 12,472 votes from the 2016 election.

To be counted, mail-in ballots had to be in the mail as of 8 p.m. CST on Monday.

A second preliminary count will be held starting Wednesday, adding all mail-in ballots that had been received by then. No mail ballots were counted on election night.

Last week, Chief Electoral Officer Michael Boda said the second count was added to the process in order to provide for more certainty on seats that were deemed too close to call, as well as the fact that mail-in ballots could take longer to count.

Eight ridings were too close to call as of Tuesday morning. 

The final count, which will tally all mail-in ballots received, will be held Nov. 7.

In the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election, 402,486 people cast their ballots, only about 4,400 of those by mail-in ballot. 

In 2007, 453,009 people voted across the province.

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