Over 1.1 million people have already voted in the BC election

Oct 23 2020, 2:41 pm

On the final day before voters head to the polls in BC’s provincial election, Elections BC says over 1.1 million votes have already been cast by way of returned mail-in ballots and advance voting this past week.

“As of this morning, we have received close to 480,000 returned mail-in ballots – an increase of over 7,200% from the last election in 2017,” said Elections BC Chief Electoral Officer Anton Bogeman during a press conference on Friday. He noted this represents about 66% of all vote-by-mail packages that were requested.

As well, there are 681,000 voters voted safely during the advance voting period. This is up from the 617,175 advance voters in the 2017 provincial election, he noted.

“In 2017, out of the total number of registered voters in BC, approximately 62% participated in the election – close to two million voters,” he furthered.

Based on where things are now, “we’re at just over 1.1 million [voters] which have participated this year, in terms of advance voting, and the number of vote-by-mail packages received,” he said, adding that depending on turnout on voting day, BC could see numbers similar to 2017.

Bogeman noted that due to the high number of mail-in ballots this year, voters may not know the final results of the election until November 6. This, he said is due to the fact that mail-in ballots are counted centrally and can’t be counted for at least 13 days after the election, as per legislation. The time period is meant to give time for the ballots to be sent back to voters’ ridings for “sorting and screening.”

Those who have not yet returned their mail-in ballot can still do so, but they must now do it in person at a designated drop-off location.

Ideally, Bogeman would like to see the final count start on the scheduled date of November 6. The process, though, could last three or more days and would be followed by another six-day window to allow for things like judicial recounts, if needed.

That’s why he’s encouraging that “if you haven’t voted yet, please take the opportunity to do so tomorrow.”

In the meantime, Bogeman thanked those who have already cast a vote and gave kudos to Elections BC staff.

“I could not be prouder of elections bc staff and our service delivery partners across the province to bring us successfully to this point,” he said.

“The response by British Columbians to voting in a pandemic has also been unprecedented. Never before have so many voters voted before election day in BC.”

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