Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

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

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

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.

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

Polling locations:

Voting places will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Harrison Hot Springs Memorial Hall (290 Esplanade Avenue, Harrison Hot Springs)

Harrison Mills Community Hall (1995 School Road, Harrison Mills)

Agassiz Agricultural Association Hall (6800 Pioneer Avenue, Agassiz)

Rosedale Traditional Community School (50850 Yale Road, Chilliwack)

East Chilliwack Elementary School (49190 Chilliwack Central Road, Chilliwack)

Sardis Elementary School (45775 Manuel Road, Chilliwack)

Watson Elementary School (45305 Watson Road, Chilliwack)

Tzeachten Community Hall (45855 Promontory Road, Chilliwack)

Mt. Slesse Middle School (5871 Tyson Road, Chilliwack)

Promontory Heights Community School (46300 Stoneview Drive, Chilliwack)

Ryder Lake Farmers and Women Institute Hall (49265 Elk View Road, Chilliwack)

Chilliwack Fish and Game Association Hall (48685 Chilliwack Lake Road, Chilliwack)

Cultus Lake Community Hall (71 Sunnyside Boulevard, Cultus Lake)

Candidates running in the riding:

Eli Gagne (Libertarian)

Jeff Hammersmark (Greens)

Jason Lum (Independent)

Kelli Paddon (NDP)

(Incumbent) Laurie Throness (Independent)

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

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., when those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 7,650 mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Chilliwack-Kent riding. There are 43,698 registered voters in the region.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani


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