Premier Scott Moe, Justice Minister Don Morgan and Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding announced that the 2020 provincial, municipal and school board election dates will be adjusted slightly to provide more separation between the two dates.
Under the existing election laws, the 2020 provincial election would have been held five days after municipal elections. Those laws will be amended so the provincial election is held on October 26, 2020, with municipal and school board elections held two weeks later on November 9, 2020. The updates to the legislation will outline that following 2020 on a four-year schedule, future provincial elections will be held on the last Monday in October and future municipal elections will occur on the second Wednesday in November, unless it falls on Remembrance Day.
“After consulting extensively with both rural and urban municipalities, it was clear they wanted to keep their elections in the fall of 2020,” Moe said. “We believe we have reached a reasonable compromise that will allow local officials time to prepare for these changes.”
“Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is pleased that voters in Saskatchewan's hometowns will continue to head to the polls every four years to elect their municipal government,” SUMA President Gordon Barnhart said. “Our hometown governments are the order of government closest to the people and established election dates promote accountability and transparency.”
“Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is generally satisfied with the municipal election date being moved to November 9, 2020,” SARM President Ray Orb said. “Our members did not want to postpone municipal elections by one year and although a date change was not our preferred option, the current option will allow time for our farmers to complete harvest and will not interfere with SARM’s Midterm Convention 2020.”
“We are pleased the dates have been chosen and we respect the Government of Saskatchewan’s authority to make this decision,” Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Dr. Shawn Davidson said. “We believe that this change will be less challenging than other options that were considered and we look forward to ongoing partnership and collaboration. Locally elected boards will continue to work hard to represent the families and communities that elect us.”
Moe noted that in 1991 and 2003, the municipal and provincial elections were held about two weeks apart. He said the government decided to flip the order (putting the provincial election before the municipal election) because moving the provincial election back would make it difficult, if not impossible, to hold a legislative session before Christmas.
“Fall provincial elections make sense because they don’t disrupt the legislative calendar,” Moe said. “The government can still introduce the Throne Speech in the fall and a budget at the usual time in the spring.”
Prior to the 2016 provincial election, the previous four elections had been held in the fall. The 2016 election was in April, due to a fall 2015 federal election, which delayed the provincial budget until June.