BC voters wanting mail-in ballot urged to submit request by mid-October

Sep 29 2020, 9:58 pm

As provincial voting day in BC continues to draw closer, Elections BC is reminding people who’d like to vote by mail to get their requests in as soon as possible – ideally by mid-October.

“We recommend that you request a vote-by-mail package by October 17,” Elections BC states. “After this date, voters will not be able to request a vote-by-mail package online or through our Contact Centre. ”

If a voter is unable to vote in person, “they will still be able to request a vote-by-mail package from a district electoral office, which they can complete and drop off at any voting place, district electoral office or a participating Service BC office,” Elections BC adds.

With BC’s provincial election set to take place amid the ongoing pandemic, Elections BC said it anticipates a higher-than-usual number of mail-in ballots to be cast as people opt to stay away from in-person voting stations.

In fact, officials estimate that as much as 35% of the total votes cast could come through mail-in ballots. This is a significant increase from the 1% of total votes that mail-in ballots typically represent.

And on Tuesday, officials said they have already received approximately 431,000 requests for vote-by-mail packages.

“Voting by mail is a great option for voters who are not comfortable voting in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Elections BC. “All voters can vote by mail: you don’t need a special reason.”

But how exactly does the mail-in-voting process work, and what’s the timeline around it? Here’s a full breakdown from Elections BC.

Requesting a mail-in ballot

Contact Elections BC to request a vote-by-mail package as soon as possible. Your package will be mailed to you. You can ask for one by:

  • Requesting a vote-by-mail package online.
  • Calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683.
  • If you would like to pick up your vote-by-mail package in person, contact the closest district electoral office.

Completing a mail-in ballot

Before you begin, read all the instructions in full. Ensure you are eligible to vote and your Certification Envelope B has your name on it. If it doesn’t, contact Elections BC. If you need to register to vote or update your information, read the voter registration section.

If you requested your vote-by-mail package before candidate nominations closed, you will have a write-in ballot. If you requested your vote-by-mail package after candidate nominations closed, you will have an ordinary ballot.

  • Follow the instructions at the top of your ballot. Print the name of the candidate or political party of your choice clearly in the white box on the ballot. Do not write anything else on your ballot.
  • Mark your ballot with an O or a P in the circle next to the candidate of your choice. Do not write anything else on your ballot.
  • Refold your ballot and put it in Secrecy Sleeve A.
  • Put Secrecy Sleeve A with your marked ballot in it into Certification Envelope B.
  • Seal Certification Envelope B.
  • If you make a mistake or have questions about how to mark your ballot, call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683.

Returning your mail-in ballot

You can return your vote-by-mail package in person at a district electoral office, voting place, or participating Service BC location. Check Election BC’s Where to Vote app for a list of district electoral offices and voting places.

Vote-by-mail packages cannot be dropped off at Service BC locations in Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby or Masset. Voters in these areas wishing to return their package in person should return it at a district electoral office or voting place.

You may also return your package by mail. A postage paid return envelope is provided for voters in Canada.

Completed vote-by-mail packages must be received by Elections BC before 8 pm PST on election day – Saturday, October 24 – and ballots cannot be mailed day-of.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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