Here's how to vote safely in BC during the pandemic

Oct 8 2020, 1:15 pm

Last month, a provincial election was called for Saturday, October 24.

Eligible voters will have their say on who will represent them in the Legislative Assembly. Voters in each of the province’s 87 electoral districts will elect one Member of the Legislative Assembly.

With the pandemic, voting will be a little different this year. To ensure the process is safe and accessible, Elections BC is working closely with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

To be eligible to vote, you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 or older on October 24, and a resident of BC for the past six months. If you’re eligible, there are lots of ways to vote.

In-person voting

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If you want to vote in person, you can do so on General Voting Day — Saturday, October 24, from 8 am to 8 pm PST. There’s also the option to vote in advance from Thursday, October 15 to Wednesday, October 21 (from 8 am to 8 pm local time), or at a district electoral office during office hours, from now until 4 pm on October 24.

To reduce the number of voters at any given voting place, Elections BC has added an additional day of advance voting (seven days total, up from six in the last election in 2017). Find the voting places near you and when they’re open at wheretovote.elections.bc.ca.

Anyone voting in person can expect capacity limits at the voting place, protective barriers, hand sanitizing stations, and increased sanitization protocols around frequently touched surfaces.

Physical distancing measures will also be in place, and election officials (who are trained on safe workplace guidelines and pandemic protocols) will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask when they vote and will not be asked to remove it at any point.

Instead of signing a voting book, you’ll now make a verbal declaration of your eligibility to vote. Election officials will direct you on where to go next, and you’ll be asked to sanitize your hands before and after voting.

All you need to bring with you is acceptable ID that shows your name and address. You can also bring your Where to Vote card if you received it in the mail, and a pen or pencil to mark your ballot (optional).

Voting by mail

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Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable voting in person can choose to vote by mail. This avenue is open to all voters for the 2020 Provincial General Election.

With the election drawing closer, those hoping to vote by mail should contact Elections BC online or by calling 1-800-661-8683 to request a package as soon as possible or at the latest by October 17.

Voting packages will be mailed out to each individual’s home address. After October 17, eligible voters won’t be able to request a package online or by phone. At the time of publishing, Elections BC had received an estimated 626,000 vote-by-mail package requests.

Be sure to pay special attention to the instructions in your vote-by-mail package when filling out the ballot, especially if you need to register or update your information. You can also download the instructions here.

All completed packages must be received by Elections BC before 8 pm PST on October 24.

Accessible voting

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At-risk voters and voters with disabilities have several options for accessible voting during the upcoming provincial election. This includes voting by mail, through assisted telephone voting if the voter meets certain criteria, and curbside voting at a voting place.

Election officials are trained on how to help you access voting opportunities, and services are available to help voters with disabilities or underlying health conditions to vote.


To learn more about the many ways that you can vote safely during the 2020 Provincial General Election, visit elections.bc.ca.

Remember, if you are ill or self-isolating, don’t visit a voting place — request a vote-by-mail package or call Elections BC for assistance at 1-800-661-8683.

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