With less than 24 hours left in the campaign, three of Saskatoon’s mayoral candidates held press conferences in their final pitch to voters.
Several of them, including the current mayor, are asking for more polling locations before the final vote on Friday after it was postponed at 5 p.m. Monday due to a snowstorm.
“We don’t want to see a huge concentration of people at five polling stations at a time when the COVID case numbers are rising. So from a public health standpoint, spreading that out would be logical from my standpoint,” Charlie Clark said.
Clark and former mayor Don Atchison spoke with reporters before the city’s election returning officer announced two more stations at Prairieland Park and Ebenezer Baptist Church in SIlverspring Thursday afternoon.
“I applaud the progress, but there has to be, there simply has to be more effort made to secure more polling stations,” Rob Norris said during his press conference.
Both Norris and Clark have said they’d like to see more stations available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with Norris saying he’d like to see one in each of the 10 wards.
Candidate Cary Tarasoff doesn’t think funneling people around a polling station is a good idea given concerns around social distancing.
Zubair Sheikh wants to see between 20 and 30 polling stations, noting the city could have pushed back the date further to allow for more voters to participate while being safer.
Questions around postponing Saskatoon civic election
The province passed a ministerial order on Monday which allowed municipalities to push back their elections to Nov. 25 if voters weren’t able to access polling stations because of weather conditions.
Atchison questioned the city’s leadership following the snowstorm.
He believes they should have been more prepared.
“If they can’t handle a snowstorm, how are you going to handle a pandemic and how are we going to get out of the situation we’re in on the financial side over the next year, two or three years down the road,” Atchison questioned.
Mark Zielke agreed and said there was a lack of foresight and planning given the time of year the election takes place.
All seven polling stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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