New Democratic Party Leader Ryan Meili claimed victory in his constituency of Saskatoon Meewasin at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, but by 6 p.m., the Elections Saskatchewan website with results had not yet been updated to reflect that result.
Meili held a short-notice press conference in Saskatoon Wednesday afternoon, where he said, “I’m so honoured to be able to represent, continue to represent the people of Saskatoon Meewasin. Thank you so much.”
Meili’s, and several other seats, were still up in the air after the conclusion of counting on election night, Monday. When all the advance polls and conventional ballot boxes were counted, Meili was 83 votes behind Saskatchewan Party candidate Rylund Hunter. But there were still 1,656 vote by mail ballots outstanding, easily enough to tip the balance.
Elections Saskatchewan opened 1,063 vote by mail ballots Wednesday that had been received by Oct. 26. By 6 p.m., their website had still not registered them as counted.
That still leaves 593 vote by mail ballots out there for Saskatoon Meewasin. Some of them may not have been mailed in, or some of those people may have chosen to vote in person. Ballots received by mail between Oct. 27 and Nov. 5 would be counted on Nov. 7, the date of the final count for the election.
But Meili was confident enough in the results he was privy to, to declare victory. He said, “I do want to thank Rylund Hunter. He worked really hard, fought hard campaign in Saskatoon Meewasin. Well done. And everyone who put their names forward in this election. This election was extremely important. And it is a lot of work, no matter what party, no matter what constituency you're running in.”
Regarding his own riding, Meili said, “We were feeling pretty confident. We had made a special effort on encouraging our supporters to vote by mail, which made election night look funny, but you know in the long run, it is playing out in our favour in Saskatoon Meewasin, and we're happy about that.”
Meili also congratulated NDP candidates Jennifer Bowes, in Saskatoon University, and Matt Love, in Saskatoon Eastview, who were also in neck-and-neck races in their respective ridings. They were both leading on election night, and Meili confirmed their win. However, again, by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Elections Saskatchewan’s website still showed the vote by mail count as pending. In Saskatoon University, 839 votes by mail had been received of the 1,296 ballots requested. In Saskatoon Eastview, 1,009 votes had been received of the 1,555 ballots requested.