Monday may have been election day in Saskatchewan, but the fun isn’t over yet. There are still tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that need to be counted.
Elections Saskatchewan says more than 61,000 mail-in ballots were requested by residents prior to election day. As of Tuesday, more than 40,000 ballots had been returned.
The count of the mail-ins began Wednesday at 9 a.m. CST. Elections Saskatchewan said it will start with ballots from constituencies that are in close races.
As of 1:45 p.m. CST, counts for 14 constituencies had been completed, though the tally for seats secured by the two main parties, the Saskatchewan Party and the Saskatchewan NDP, remained locked as they were late on election day: 50 and 11, respectively.
Eight ridings are still up for grabs.
Prince Albert Northcote, Regina Coronation Park, Regina Pasqua, Regina University, Saskatoon Eastview, Saskatoon Meewasin, Saskatoon Riversdale and Saskatoon University were all determined too close to call by CBC News on election night, due to the volume of mail-in ballots still to be counted.
“It remains possible that some constituencies will change from how they were reported last night,” said Michael Boda, chief electoral officer for Elections Saskatchewan.
Saskatoon Meewasin is Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili’s riding. He is neck-and-neck with Saskatchewan Party candidate Ryland Hunter.
This is the ballroom where Ryan Meili won the NDP leadership in 2018. Today ballots are being counted here which will determine his future. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/skpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#skpoli</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/skvotes?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#skvotes</a> <a href=”https://t.co/21Qm4OzR9I”>pic.twitter.com/21Qm4OzR9I</a>
Boda said the latest results of the count will be released twice a day. He anticipates that counting the mail-ins may take up to three days to finish.
There are 26 counting stations in total. Counting will be done in Regina.
Boda did not know Tuesday how many ballots Elections Saskatchewan will have to go through in total.
“We don’t know how many vote by mail ballots are in the postal system right now. It was required that voters get that ballot into the postal system by 8 p.m. [Monday]. So we will wait for those,” Boda said.
A final count will begin on Nov. 7 and could take several days. Saskatchewan residents may not know the result of a few ridings until every last vote is counted.
Candidates can also contest results in close races. After all that, the results will become official on Nov. 18.