A steady stream of voters turned up at the Campbell River Community Centre to cast their vote in the B.C. general election. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror

A steady stream of voters turned up at the Campbell River Community Centre to cast their vote in the B.C. general election. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror

It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

Safe voting has been the focus: Elections BC spokesperson

It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election.

First called in September by B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Votes 2020 is likely going to be one for the history books, already seeing a number of records broken when it comes to voter turnout.

Roughly 681,000 people cast their ballot during the seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017.

Meanwhile, 478,900 returned vote-by-mail packages had been received by Elections BC by Oct. 22, representing 66 per cent of the packages requested.

It is expected that some ridings will see preliminary results as to which candidate will likely take a seat in the B.C. Legislature by the end of day Saturday. Meanwhile, close races will have to wait until mid-November for the winner to be declared, once mail-in ballots are counted by Elections BC officials after Nov. 6.

Andrew Watson, communications director for Elections BC, told Black Press Media that “safe voting has been the focus” during this snap election.

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“Voters can feel confident in the process we’ve put in place,” he said, noting that staff have all been given personal protective equipment to wear, hand sanitizing stations are set up for voters and everyone is encouraged to wear a mask while casting their ballot – though it’s not mandatory. He added that while turnout was steady through the morning, the “record turnout” for advanced voting and vote-by-mail meant that fewer people were voting on Election Day. No long lines or other issues were reported at polling stations through the morning.

“Please get out and vote,” Watson said, noting that anyone who requires assistance with finding their polling station or any other step in the voting process can contact Elections BC directly at 1-800-661-8683.

Haven’t voted? There’s still time. Here’s what you need to know:

Polling locations:

To find out where to vote visit: Elections BC.

Candidates running in the riding:

Michele Babchuk, BC NDP.

Norm Facey, BC Liberals

Alexandra Morton, BC Greens.

John Twigg, BC Conservatives.

Voter registration:

While eligible voters don’t have to register ahead of time to take part in the election, Elections BC recommends British Columbians sign up ahead of time in order to avoid lengthy lineups.

Voters can register or update their information online at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling 1-800-661-8683. Registration closed on Sept. 26.

To be eligible, British Columbians must be able to show one of the following pieces of identification:

  • A B.C. driver’s licence
  • A B.C. Identification Card
  • A B.C. Services Card, with photo
  • A Certificate of Indian Status
  • Another card issued by the B.C. government, or Canada, that shows your name, photo and address

Health rules for voting during COVID-19:

All voting places and district electoral offices will have protective measures in place, including:

  • 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
  • Election workers trained on safe workplace guidelines and pandemic protocols

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani and Devon Bidal

BC politicsBC Votes 2020