The initial count for the Nanaimo byelection gets underway with officials vetting ballots by hand once the polls close at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The 9,322 ballots from advance voting will be counted along with those cast on election day.
This count is a preliminary tally and is expected to be announced tonight.
Every ballot box and a corresponding team of election officials is involved in the initial count, Elections B.C. said. Procedures are set out by B.C.’s Election Act.
Election officials have been trained on how to determine whether to accept or reject a ballot.
The voting officer makes the decisions on whether to accept or reject a ballot.
Voters are being asked to mark their ballot with an X or a checkmark. But even if instructions aren’t strictly followed, a ballot will be accepted if an election official can clearly distinguish the intent of the voter, said Rebecca Penz, a spokeswoman for Elections B.C.
“If you can tell what the voter’s intention is, it’s valid. … At the end of the day, it is our job to enfranchise people to vote and if it’s clear what the voter intended, then we will accept that,” she said.
Candidates are allowed to watch the initial count. Each candidate may have one representative present.
The counts normally happen where the voting took place.
This initial counting does not include absentee ballots, which are counted just before the final vote is determined.
However, the number of absentee ballots is recorded during the initial count.
In this election, the final count will begin on or before Feb. 6. That is when absentee ballots will be counted and final results will be announced.
April 30 is the deadline for candidates to file their financial reports related to the election.