REGINA -- Elections Saskatchewan said voter safety is its top priority for those heading to a polling station for the upcoming election.

It has nearly doubled the number or polling locations available from the previous election in 2016.

“We’re taking safety measures to ensure anyone stepping inside one of our more than 2,000 polling locations feels protected,” Michael Boda, Elections Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer, said.

According to a recent Angus Reid survey, 43 per cent of Saskatchewan voters still say they feel uncomfortable voting in a pandemic. Boda said as of Thursday morning, over 54,000 people applied to vote by mail in the province.

Elections Saskatchewan is hoping to reassure those who didn’t register for absentee voting of what to expect at the polls.

“Whereas in the past maybe we had four polls in a school gym, chances are pretty good that there’s only going to be two, maybe three in that school gym,” Boda said.

At the polls, voters are still expected to show valid ID to get a ballot, but will now be asked to stay two metres apart. Hand sanitizer will be available and surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day.

Single-use pencils will be provided but voters are welcome to bring their own marking device. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended and masks will be available for anyone without one.

Boda said Elections Saskatchewan is trying to provide residents with as much information as possible, but it’s important to only vote once.

“If they have already voted by mail and received a mail in ballot, then they should disregard the voter information card information and should not vote twice,” Elections Saskatchewan Corporate Services Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Jennifer Colin said.

Boda said personal protective equipment is being provided to more than 13-thousand workers, and the workers will be separated from voters with acrylic sneeze guards or increased physical distancing. But more workers are needed in Saskatoon, Yorkton, Prince Albert Athabasca and Cumberland.

“There is a sense that there is a greater presence of COVID-19 in some of these communities and so people are maybe pulling back a little bit,” Boda said.

Registration for absentee voting closed on Thursday. Advanced voting for the provincial election starts on Tuesday and Elections Saskatchewan is busy getting polling stations ready for voters.

“We have been working closely with the Chief Medical Health Officer, and he has assured me that we are doing the right things,” Boda said.

Anyone with questions about polling stations is encouraged to contact Elections Saskatchewan for more information.