Amendment to Tied Vote of a Municipal Election: Incumbent Tie

Res #: 10-22M
Number: 10
Year: 2022
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS the municipal elected officials put time and effort into their role of office.

WHEREAS an incumbent holds their office until they resign or lose through the election process.

BE IT RESOLVED that when the election result is a tie that the incumbent retains their seat as they were not defeated.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

February 27, 2024

The Ministry of Government Relations does not support a change to legislation that would break ties in favour of incumbents.

When there is a tie, at least as many people voted for the incumbent as voted for the other candidate. A key principle of the democratic electoral system and Saskatchewan’s local election legislation is to ensure fairness for all candidates and voters and no ‘incumbent advantage’ is provided, For example, clause 91(1)(g) of The Local Government Election Act, 2015 (the Act) prohibits ballots from Indicating In any manner that a candidate has held office as a member of council.

As of January 2024, a municipality now has the option to hold a by-election to resolve tied votes. This amendment was made in response to SARM resolution 15-21A, which asked government for a democratic option to resolve tied votes. The practice of selecting the successful candidate by drawing a name from a receptacle remains an option.

Other recent amendments to the Act provide clarity in the process for how tied votes are resolved, including requirements that any tied candidates must be notified when the winner’s name will be drawn, and that at least two witnesses must be present.

Laurier Donais –  Deputy Minister of Government Relations