Municipal election dates  should be moved to avoid being held too close to provincial elections.

That’s the consensus of Warman city councillors.

A motion adopted at the Warman City Council meeting on Monday, January 9 endorsed a call by the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) to change the date of municipal elections.

A letter from SUMA tabled at the January 9 city council meeting noted that the next municipal election is scheduled for November 13, 2024, shortly after the provincial election date of October 28, 2024. Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral officer has suggested the municipal election date be changed to avoid voter confusion as experienced during the elections in 2020.

SUMA is advocating for a May, 2025 election date for cities and a September, 2024 election date for towns and villages. Those dates are based on feedback SUMA has received from its membership.

Despite its advocacy efforts, the most recent amendments to the Local Government Election Act introduced on November 17, 2022 did not include a change to the municipal election date.

SUMA is currently requesting municipal councils to write letters to Government Relations Minister Don McMorris, calling on the provincial government to change the dates of municipal elections.

Warman City Councillor Marshall Seed put forward the motion to have Warman add its voice to the call for a change in election dates.

“Elections in the fall are difficult because of weather,” said Seed. “Spring elections are much better.”

Warman City Councillor Richard Beck, who also serves as SUMA Northwest Region Director, said the organization has been advocating for a change in election date since 2019.

The most recent resolution on the issue, adopted at the SUMA 2020 convention, states that municipalities face many obstacles, such as overlapping of training for workers who are needed to work both the provincial and  municipal elections, municipal advance poll dates that could take place on or before the provincial election day, and the abundance of campaign election signage within the municipalities.