Everything you need to know before you vote
By Joe Aryes, Social Media Coordinator
A snap-election has been called in BC with voting day set for October 24 and advanced voting starting on October 15.
This is also the first year that voting by mail is an accessible option to all British Columbians—made available due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, call-in voting is an option for those unable to vote by mail or in case of an emergency (for those who qualify). Voting in-person is still an option, with social distancing measures in place.
The easiest way to get your vote-by-mail package is to do so online. This system, run by Elections BC, allows you to register to vote and to request a vote-by-mail package. Additionally, for those who are underage but want to be automatically registered for when they’re 18, there is an option to register as a future voter.
It’s important to note that only ballots received by October 24 at 8 pm will be counted.
“During a pandemic, vote-by-mail is a good option for voters with underlying health conditions and for voters who do not wish to vote in person at a voting place,” says Election BC’s online voter registration page.
In order to register you need your BC driver’s license number, your BC identification card number, and the last six digits of your social insurance number—or the last six digits of your personal health number. You will also need to provide your email and phone number so you can be reached by Elections BC.
When you get your vote-by-mail package it will contain a ballot, a sleeve to keep your vote secret, a certification envelope, and a return envelope. All you’ll need to do is fill in the ballot with your vote, put your ballot in the secrecy sleeve, put that into the certification envelope, and finally, put that all in the return envelope. Detailed instructions with diagrams can be found through a link on this page.
Only Canadian citizens that are 18 or over are eligible to vote.
It’s important to note that only ballots received by October 24 at 8 pm will be counted. To ensure your vote is counted you should mail it before October 24 but not before October 15. No postage will be required if you’re sending your ballot from anywhere in Canada.
Elections BC is projecting that 30 to 35 percent of votes in the upcoming election will be cast by mail, when in the previous election it was only 1 percent.
In a press release, Elections BC said, “Depending on the volume of returned vote-by-mail packages, it may be necessary to extend the period after the close of voting and before the final count of absentee ballots.”
Registration to vote in the upcoming provincial election ended September 26. As of September 20, 2020 there were roughly 3.46 million registered voters in BC.