REGINA -- Now that Saskatchewan residents have one pandemic election under their belts, there are lessons to be applied to municipal elections taking place Nov. 9.

Advanced polls for Regina’s municipal election open this Monday Nov. 2. Drive-thru voting at City Hall is available for all eligible Regina voters during advanced polls starting at 7 a.m., other advanced polls open at 10 a.m. Nov. 2 to 4. If you don’t have access to a vehicle, a committee room at city hall has also been reserved for advanced poll voting, open to voters from any ward in the City Nov. 2 to 4 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mail in ballot applications are still being accepted but they take time to process and send out. Mail in ballots are a safe COVID-19-friendly option, but Regina’s City Clerk is reminding people to get their applications in right away.

“I would encourage people to fill them out and get them in as soon as possible,” Jim Nicol, City Clerk and returning officer for Regina’s municipal election, said “I encourage people to do it sooner rather than later. Because again, I don't control the flow of mail, but I do control the fact that they have to be in our office by 8p.m. on Monday.”

Nicol emphasized the difference between the mail in ballot rules for the municipal election compared to the provincial election.

“It’s important to note that the ballot has got to be back to the election office by 8 p.m. on the ninth of November, in order to be counted. This is not like the provincial election where they will be counted if they are postmarked. They have to be in to the election office on Solomon Crescent by 8p.m. that night.”

The City of Regina has already processed more than 4,000 mail in ballot requests, a huge increase from the average of 80 to 100. Nicol said extra staff have been brought in to process the requests as quickly as possible.

If you have a completed mail-in ballot and you don’t think you ave enough time to mail it back before Nov. 9, you can drop completed ballots into the mailbox outside City Hall any time up until noon on Election Day.

Several eligible voters were unable to vote in the provincial election due to Covid-19 restrictions that require self isolation until 48 hours after any symptoms subside. Nicol hopes people in Regina vote as early as they can.

“People should take advantage to vote when they can. Don't wait for something to happen. I mean nobody knows,” Nicol said.