The City of Moose Jaw is preparing for the upcoming 2024 municipal and school board elections.
During Monday night's city council meeting, decisions were made about the election including the returning officer, election official remuneration and how candidates will be listed on the ballot.
Assistant City Clerk Dawn Lugrin was appointed as the returning officer for the municipal election and will be the associate returning officer on behalf of the Prairie South School Division and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division for the school division elections.
Election officials will be paid $270 per day for poll supervisors, $255 per day for ballot receiving officers and $350 for ballot issuing officers. They will also receive an additional $50 to attend mandatory training.
The city will continue the practice of registering voters at advance polls and on election day as opposed to the enumeration of residents eligible to vote and preparing a voters list. Mail-in voting will also be permitted for those absent on election day.
“In previous elections, we used to have approximately 10 mail-in ballots. However, that did change with COVID in the 2020 election. We had approximately 500 that came through and we’re still, for this election, going to be promoting the mail-in ballot,” said City Clerk and previous Returning Officer Tracy Wittke.
Candidates will appear on the ballots in alphabetical order and the candidates' occupations will not appear on the ballot or nomination papers. Candidates will not have to submit a criminal record check when submitting their nomination papers.
Under new legislation, the city could increase the deposit paid for councillor and mayoral candidates. However, city council decided to keep the deposit the same at $100 across the board for councillor and mayoral candidates.
Wittke explained how a candidate could lose their deposit to answer a question posed by Coun. Dawn Luhning.
“There are some individuals who do put their name forward who do not get their refund back if they do not file their election campaign disclosure forms. That is in the legislation,” said Wittke.
Another change due to the new legislation is the changing of the election date due to inclement weather.
“Due to the snowfall that did occur in 2020, there were several communities that were struggling with whether to hold their elections on election day of Nov. 9. The ministry has actually provided authority to the returning officer to determine, and it’s about a one-week wind, where we can defer the election,” explained Wittke.
City council also voted in favour of offering free city transit services on election day, which is expected to cost the city $1,600.
The municipal and school division elections are scheduled to take place on Nov. 13.
There will be four polling stations during the election. Polling location 1 will be at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds. The city has the Golden Nugget Centre tentatively booked. The convention centre is usually the polling location, however, it is booked on election day. Polling location 1 will be for residents north of Thatcher Drive and west of 11th Avenue Northwest.
Polling location 2 will be the Cosmo Senior Citizens' Centre for eligible voters on the northeast end of the city.
Polling location 3 will be at the Minto United Church. It will serve all other voters in the north end of the city not included in locations 1 and 2.
Poling location 4 will be Church of Our Lady and it will serve all voters on South Hill.
The polls are scheduled to open at 9 a.m. on election day and close at 8 p.m. A special hospital poll will be open for one and a half hours on election day for those receiving care at the hospital and hospital staff. The returning officer is expected to reach out to care homes to coordinate dates and times for special polls at their facility.
“The city clerk has been planning until an appointment of a returning officer was made as formal planning and direction can’t be done or undertaken, but there are potential plans, as has happened in the past,” said Lugrin.
There will be six advance polls at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Company's Golden Nugget Centre. Advance polls will be the following dates and times:
- Tuesday, Oct. 29 - Noon to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 30 - Noon to 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 2 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 4 - Noon to 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 5 - Noon to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 7 - Noon to 6 p.m.
The estimated cost to conduct the municipal and school division elections is $81,248. Generally, the city pays for 50 per cent of the cost, while the two school divisions take on the other 50 per cent. The only factor that could change the cost-sharing plan is acclamations on the school board ballots.