Elections BC has announced it has a COVID-19 plan in place to help voters cast their ballot safely in person.
Pandemic voting protocols have been developed in consultation with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. Safe voting practices for voting places are available at elections.bc.ca/safevoting and will include:
• Physical distancing
• Capacity limits
• Election officials wearing personal protective equipment (such as masks and face-visors)
• Protective barriers
• Hand sanitizing stations
• Frequent cleaning of voting stations and frequently touched surfaces
Voters are encouraged to wear a mask when they vote to help protect others. Voters will not be asked to remove their mask to vote. Voters will be asked to sanitize their hands before and after voting.
To prevent close contact, some familiar voting procedures may be different. For example, voters will make a verbal declaration of their eligibility to vote instead of signing a voting book. Voters also can bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot.
VOTING IN PERSON
Voting in person will be available during the advance voting period from Thursday, Oct.15 to Wednesday, Oct. 21, and on Election Day, Saturday, Oct. 24.
Advance voting places will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. There will be seven days of advance voting, up from six in 2017. The additional advance voting day has been added to give voters more options and help reduce numbers in voting places. The advance voting period includes two weekend days, Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18.
Voting places will be open on Election Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting places and the dates they are open are being confirmed and will be available on Elections BC’s website as soon as possible. They will also be listed on Where to Vote cards sent to every registered voter in the province before the start of the advance voting period.
Voters should stay home if they are feeling sick or self-isolating and request a vote-by-mail package instead.
VOTING BY MAIL
Voters don’t need a special reason to vote by mail. It’s an option for all eligible voters, and a good option for voters who are not comfortable voting in person because of the pandemic.
To vote by mail, voters need to request a voting package. Voting packages can be requested now on the Elections BC website at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by phone at 1-800-661-8683. The vote-by-mail package will be mailed to the voter with instructions on how to complete it and return it to Elections BC.
Voters can register or update their information online at elections.bc.ca/ovr, or by calling 1-800-661-8683. Voter registration by phone closes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. Voter registration online closes at 11:59:59 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Eligible voters can still register or update their voter registration when they vote, but it will make the voting process longer for them. Elections BC encourages voters to make sure their information is up to date now so they can vote faster, help reduce lineups at voting places and support physical distancing.