Senior White Rock election worker not concerned about safety at the polls

‘Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee,’ says Elections BC CEO

Since Premier John Horgan called a snap provincial election to be held Oct. 24, questions have been raised about the safety of voting in person during a global pandemic.

But everyone from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, to Election BC CEO Anton Boegman, to an experienced White Rock voting station worker agree that it can, and will, be done safely.

In a press conference Tuesday morning (Sept. 22), the day after Horgan called the snap election, Boegman said his agency has been working with Henry’s office for the past number of months in preparation for a possible election.

Boegman noted that more than 50 elections have taken place this year worldwide, and Elections BC has taken a number of steps to not only increase safety, but increase the number of voting opportunities.

He said people who decide to vote in person can expect physical distancing measures, hand sanitizing stations, capacity limits, protective barriers for election officials, and officials wearing personal protective equipment.

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

The process will be streamlined, he added, to reduce the amount of time a person needs to wait to cast their ballot.

“Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee, or picking up milk and eggs from the grocery store in terms of safety protocols and time spent,” Boegman said.

White Rock resident Pat Petrala has worked nearly every provincial and federal election in the past 20 years.

She said she has confidence in both Henry and Elections BC to facilitate a safe voting experience.

“And much like at the grocery store, the pharmacy, we’re behind plastic shields and we have our mask on and we wear gloves to handle documents,” Petrala said. “It makes logical sense, witnessing what happened in the Maritimes for their vote. We saw how they worked. It doesn’t threaten me at all. I don’t feel insecure and I’m 70 years old.”

Voting by mail is expected to take a major jump compared to previous elections.

Boegman said more than 20,000 people requested to vote by mail just one day after the writ was dropped. As of Sept. 28 that number had reached 400,000 (see related story below).

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

According to Elections BC, the agency can process up to 200,000 mail-in ballots in time for the final count, which is legislated to begin no less than 13 days after Election Day.

However, this year Elections BC believes that up to 35 per cent of voters, or around 800,000 people, could opt to mail in their ballot.

– files from Katya Slepian

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

Do you have someone you would like to thank? Or maybe something to get off your chest? Email your rose or rotten tomato to
Roses and Rotten Tomatoes (Oct. 22, 2020)

Our weekly collection of compliments and complaints sent in by readers

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
Surrey Eagles in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for BCHL season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
Bill Fraser Health for excessive mental-health-related police time at White Rock hospital: top cop

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

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

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Swimco announced recently it is shutting all of its stores in Canada, including in Langley. (Swimco website)
Canadian-owned swimsuit chain bankrupt

Swimco had been in creditor protection for several months

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

Most Read