Polls to remain open despite high snow fall levels

Monday’s municipal election will continue as scheduled despite a weekend blizzard that temporarily shut down bus routes and had residents digging out of their houses and apartments from one end of Prince Albert to the other.

Returning officer Sherry Person confirmed that polls would remain open until 8 p.m. as planned. While other cities like Saskatoon have scheduled an extra day of voting due to high snowfall levels, Person said they have no plans to do the same. She’s advising all residents to vote on Election Day.

“It has been somewhat of a crazy 2020, and we continue to see that, obviously, with the snow,” Person said during an interview on Monday. “But, we are from Saskatchewan. We are quite used to this snow.”

Person said road crews were able to clear a path to all most polls earlier in the day, and bus routes reopened at around 2:15 p.m. That helped convince her that Election Day could go ahead as planned.

The high number of advanced voters also factored into the equation. There were 3,303 advanced votes cast in 2020. That’s more than double the 1,427 advanced votes case in 2016. Person said that trend means Election Day voting should be lower than normal, even without the snow.

“It is consistent with what we saw with the (provincial election) where advanced polls and mail in ballots were high and then poll day was somewhat of a lesser turnout,” Person explained. “Whether snow or not, I was kind of expecting the same thing because we naturally trend to what happens with the province.”

Person added that they would keep all options open, so there is a slim chance polls could open again later in the week. However, there will be no changes to Election Day voting.

“It’s a little bit slower, but polls have been steady today,” she said. “I believe the all-day express did start at 2:15 p.m., so we have seen the voters come out to vote, but I wasn’t changing the hours of the polls today. I didn’t really see a reason to do that.”

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