Mail-in ballots delay some Sask. election results

Eight ridings are still too close to call a day after Saskatchewan voted to re-elect the Saskatchewan Party for a fourth consecutive term.

It’s clear the government will hold a majority, but several seats are still in flux due to an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.

There were 61,255 mail-in ballots requested, compared to 4,420 in 2016, as voters opted for that method during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those will affect the final result, depending on how many are actually returned.

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For example, in NDP leader Ryan Meili’s Saskatoon Meewasin constituency, the initial vote count shows him losing to the Sask. Party candidate Rylund Hunter by a count of 2,805 to 2,722. However, voters in that riding requested 1,656 mail-in ballots.

Elections Saskatchewan said ballots mailed and received by Oct. 26 will be counted Oct. 28. Those received afterward will be part of the Nov. 7 official vote.

The Sask. Party clearly won all 29 rural ridings it held before the writ dropped, including those where incumbents did not seek re-election.

Agriculture minister David Marit easily won his Wood River seat with 6,133 votes to the NDP candidate’s 956 and the Green Party’s 235 votes. That’s the largest margin of victory in the 61 constituencies.

New MLAs on the government side are Dana Skoropad in Arm River, Daryl Harrison in Cannington, Ryan Domotor in Cut Knife-Turtleford, Travis Keisig in Last Mountain-Touchwood, Terry Jenson in Martensville-Warman and Jeremy Cockrill in The Battlefords. The party also held Moose Jaw North with Tim McLeod.

Ridings that are still in flux include: Regina Coronation Park, Regina Pasqua and Regina University, which were all held by the Sask. Party; Saskatoon Eastview and Saskatoon University, which were last represented by Sask. Party MLAs, Saskatoon Meewasin and Saskatoon Riversdale, which were most recently NDP ridings; and Prince Albert Northcote, which has an NDP incumbent.

In addition to the high number of mail-in ballots, a whopping 185,061 people voted in advance polls this election.

As it stands Oct. 27, the government has 46 seats and 62.7 percent of the popular vote and the NDP has 15 seats with 28 percent of the vote. That represents an NDP gain of two seats.

Results will be updated again after the second preliminary count tomorrow.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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