Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election.

First called in September by BC NDP Leader John Horgan, B.C. Votes 2020 is likely going to be one for the history books, already seeing a number of records broken when it comes to voter turnout.

Roughly 681,000 people cast their ballot during the seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017.

Meanwhile, 478,900 returned vote-by-mail packages had been received by Elections BC by Oct. 22, representing 66 per cent of the packages requested.

It is expected that some ridings will see preliminary results as to which candidate will likely take a seat in the B.C. Legislature by the end of day Saturday. Meanwhile, close races will have to wait until mid-November for the winner to be declared, once mail-in ballots are counted by Elections BC officials after Nov. 6.

Haven’t voted? There’s still time. Here’s what you need to know:

Polling locations:

Voters have an assigned voting place on General Election Day. Elections BC says it’s faster to vote your assigned location, but you can vote at another place if it’s more convenient for you.

For a full list of voting locations, click here (pages 37 to 40 for Surrey).

People can also vote at any district electoral office until 4 p.m. on Oct. 24. Offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

For a full list of district electoral offices, click here (page 5 for Surrey).

Candidates running in the riding:

A total of 32 candidates are running in nine ridings in the Surrey/White Rock area.

In Surrey-Whalley, the candidates are Ryan Abbott (Communist Party of BC), Jag Bhandari (B.C. Vision), Shaukat Khan (BC Liberal Party) and Bruce Ralston (BC NDP).

In Surrey-Newton, names on the ballot will be Harry Bains (BC NDP), Paul Boparai (BC Liberal Party) and Asad Syed (BC Green Party).

There are four candidates in Surrey-Guildford, including Garry Begg (BC NDP), Dave Hans (BC Liberal Party), Sam Kofalt (Independent) and Jodi Murphy (BC Green Party).

The two candidates in Surrey-Green Timbers are Dilraj Atwal (BC Liberal Party) and Rachna Singh (BC NDP).

In Surrey-Fleetwood, the candidates are Jagrup Brar (BC NDP), Dean McGee (BC Green Party) and Garry Thind (BC Liberal Party).

The five candidates in Surrey-Cloverdale are Aisha Rehana Bali (Conservative), Marvin Hunt (BC Liberal Party), Rebecca Smith (BC Green Party), Mike Starchuk (BC NDP) and Marcella Williams (Independent).

In Surrey-Panorama, names on the ballot will be Gulzar Cheema (BC Liberal Party), Sophie Shrestha (B.C. Vision) and Jinny Sims (BC NDP).

Candidates in Surrey South are Stephanie Cadieux (BC Liberal Party), Pauline Greaves (BC NDP) and Tim Ibbotson (BC Green Party).

In Surrey-White Rock, the five candidates are Jason Bax (Libertarian), Trevor Halford (BC Liberal Party), Beverly (Pixie) Hobby (BC Green Party), Megan Knight (Independent) and Bryn Smith (BC NDP).

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

Health rules for voting during COVID-19:

All voting places and district electoral offices will have protective measures in place, including:

  • Physical distancing
  • Capacity limits
  • Election officials wearing personal protective equipment (such as masks and face-visors)
  • Protective barriers
  • Hand sanitizing stations
  • Frequent cleaning of voting stations and frequently touched surfaces
  • Election workers trained on safe workplace guidelines and pandemic protocols

For more election coverage, click here.

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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