British Columbia’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

As British Columbians look to head to the polls in roughly one month’s time, Elections BC has released details on how the province’s 42nd election will take place amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Our main focus is ensuring a safe and accessible voting process during the pandemic,” said Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman in a statement on Monday (Sept. 21).

“We have been working with Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office to develop our safe voting plans and make sure that voters don’t have to choose between safeguarding their health and exercising their right to vote. All voters have the option of voting in person with protective measures in place, or voting by mail.”

ALSO READ: Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

Pandemic voting protocols will include physical distancing, capacity limits at polling stations, protective barriers and frequent cleaning of voting stations.

Election officials will also be given personal protective equipment, including masks and face visors.

To prevent close contact, some familiar voting procedures may also be different than years’ past, Elections BC said.

“For example, voters will make a verbal declaration of their eligibility to vote instead of signing a voting book. Voters also can bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot.”

Voting in person

Voting in person will be available during the advance voting period from Oct. 15 to 21, and on Election Day on Oct. 24. That means there will be seven days of advance voting, compared to six in the last provincial election.

Polling station locations will soon be listed on Election BC’s website, as well as on Where to Vote cards sent to every registered voter in the province before the start of the advance voting period.

Voters are being urged to stay home and request a vote-by-mail package if they are feeling sick or under self-isolation restrictions.

British Columbians can vote in person at any district electoral office from when they open until 4 p.m. on Oct. 24, on election day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can also cast their ballot during advance voting from Oct. 15. to Oct. 21, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

Voting by mail

All eligible voters are allowed to vote using a mail-in ballot.

To vote by mail, British Columbians must request a voting package at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by phone at 1-800-661-8683. The vote-by-mail package will be mailed to the voter with instructions on how to complete it and return it to Elections BC. Completed voting packages must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Oct. 24.

Voting for those at-risk during pandemic

Voting by mail is one option for those at risk, but Elections BC will also provide additional services. Assisted telephone voting is one option, and there will be services for voters in care facilities and hospitals, as well as outreach to First Nations communities, student groups and through agencies that provide services to homeless people.

Voter registration

While eligible voters don’t have to register ahead of time to take part in the election, Elections BC recommends British Columbians sign up ahead of time in order to avoid lengthy lineups.

Voters can register or update their information online at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling 1-800-661-8683. Registration closed on Sept. 26.

To be eligible, British Columbians must be able to show one of the following pieces of identification:

  • A B.C. driver’s licence
  • A B.C. Identification Card
  • A B.C. Services Card, with photo
  • A Certificate of Indian Status
  • Another card issued by the B.C. government, or Canada, that shows your name, photo and address

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Renee
Bigger for 2020, online Surrey conference clicks with writers from around the world

Registrants from 17 countries for ‘SiWC At Home’ edition of the annual event

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast a ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

A black bear targets a bird feeder by the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River in Chilliwack on Oct. 7, 2020. (William Snow photo)
Public safety of residents cited as young bear euthanized in Chilliwack

Human-habituated bear was hanging around residential areas and bird feeders near the Vedder River

Most Read