Whereas the Provincial Government passed Bill 134 in 2019 to amend The Local Government Election Act, 2015, which includes the amendment to move the municipal election day from the 3rd Wednesday in October every four years to November 9, 2020, November 13, 2024, and thereafter the second Wednesday in November every four years; and
Whereas the explanation from the Government of Saskatchewan for the amendment was to address the overlap of provincial and municipal/school board election campaign periods in 2020; and
Whereas by holding the municipal election close to another election, such as the provincial election in 2020, the voters will be subject to fatigue and confusion which will certainly impact voter turnout for the municipal election; and
Whereas municipalities face a concern with how to adequately advertise to voters on how to vote, where to vote, and voting requirements for a municipal election, since a provincial election follows very different processes and requirements than a municipal election; and
Whereas municipalities face many obstacles such as overlapping of training for workers who are needed to work both the provincial and municipal elections, municipal advance poll dates that could take place on or before the provincial election day, and the abundance of campaign election signage within the municipalities; and
Whereas the fiscal year for municipalities is from January to December of each year, with many municipalities moving towards reviewing and considering their annual budgets in the early fall of the previous year to assist with the required preparation to undertake the approved planned projects in any given year and the holding of a municipal election during the same time period has become cumbersome for both administration and newly-elected members of Council; and
Whereas the holding of a spring election would allow members of Council an opportunity to orient themselves in municipal business prior to having to undertake a comprehensive budget process at the beginning of fall in the year following a municipal election; and
Whereas the holding of a spring election for municipalities would be anticipated to minimize the overlap of provincial and municipal/school board election campaign periods on a go-forward basis;
Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association advocate the Provincial Government to amend Section 10 of The Local Government Election Act, 2015 that a general election must be held on:
1. November 9, 2020;
2. Second Wednesday of May, 2024; and,
3. At intervals of every four years, on the second Wednesday of May, following 2024
In April of 2018, the Ministry of Government Relations forwarded draft amendments to The Local Government Election Act requesting a response from various stakeholders regarding those proposed amendments to the Act. The draft amendments included a proposed provision to amend Section 10 to move the general election to November 18, 2020 and after that date at intervals of every four (4) years on the third Wednesday of November. As noted in the Explanation section of the draft amendments, the change is recommended as a result of the overlap that will occur between the provincial and municipal elections in 2020.
The Ministry of Government Relations forwarded an update in August of 2018, on the potential change to the 2020 municipal election date. Within the update, the Ministry advised that the responses received from the potential change that would move the municipal election from the fourth Wednesday in October to the third Wednesday in November did not support this change. Therefore, the Ministry requested feedback on the potential of delaying the municipal election date one year to October 27, 2021 and every four (4) years after that.
The Ministry of Government Relations advised in October, 2018, that in the interest of finding a reasonable compromise, Government has decided to move both the provincial and local election date. Both elections will take place in fall 2018: the provincial election date will be Monday, October 26, 2020, and the local government election date will be Monday, November 9, 2020. After 2020, local elections will be held every four (4) years on the second Wednesday in November. If the second Wednesday is Remembrance Day, the provision provides for the election date to be held on the Monday of that week
ACTS AFFECTED: The Local Government Election Act, 2015 REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: ALL 2020-019