What you need to know on voting day; polls open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 24

Today is general voting day for British Columbia’s provincial election. Here’s what you need to know to cast your ballot.

Who can vote: Anyone 18 or older who is a Canadian citizen and has been a B.C. resident for the past six months.

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Where and when to vote: You can vote at any polling station or any electoral office. To find a polling station in your riding, visit elections.bc.ca/voting/where-to-vote/ or check the voter information card sent to registered voters. The polling stations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and electoral offices are open until 4 p.m.

What to bring: Proof of your identity and address. That could include government-issued ID with name, photo and address, such as a driver’s licence, or two pieces of identification with at least one showing a current address, or someone to vouch for you. If you received a Where to Vote card in the mail, bring that with you to make the process faster.

Inside voting stations, voters can expect capacity limits, sanitization stations, Plexiglas barriers and election officers wearing masks. Voters are encouraged to wear a mask inside the voting station and are reminded to keep a safe distance from other voters.

You can bring your own pen or pencil to mark the ballot, but pencils at voting stations will be sanitized after use.

Chief electoral officer Anton Boegman said he’s been impressed with voters’ patience and adherence to safety measures during seven days of advance voting. He also praised Elections B.C. staff for their organization.

People without homes who do not have identification are still able to vote as long as they have someone to vouch for them. Our Place Society on Pandora Avenue will have a polling station from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. An outreach worker will be on site to vouch for voters who have other forms of ID, such as social-assistance cheques, medical prescriptions or bus passes.

Some people can vote by phone: If you are self-isolating, in hospital or have a disability that prevents you from voting in-person or by mail, you can vote by assisted telephone voting. Hundreds of military members deployed at sea were also given this option for the first time. Assisted telephone voting was introduced in the 2017 provincial election and used by about 1,000 voters that year. So far, Elections B.C. has processed 1,900 votes by phone. Some hospitals, such as the Royal Jubilee in Victoria, also have mobile voting stations so patients can vote from their hospital beds.

Who votes? Almost 3.5 million people are registered to vote in this provincial election. Due to the pandemic, advance voting and mail-in ballots saw unprecedented use. More than 1.1 million votes have already been cast, with 681,055 people voting in advance polls and 478,000 vote-by-mail packages received by Elections B.C.

The highest number of advance ballots was in the Parksville-­Qualicum riding, with 12,609 out of 48,396 registered voters, or 26 per cent.

In 2017, a total of 1,974,712 valid ballots were counted in the province, with about 40 per cent of people voting in advance or through mail-in ballots.

Voter turnout in the 2017 provincial election was 62 per cent of those registered, up from 57.1 per cent in the 2013 provincial election. That bump in turnout was largely due to more young people voting: 51.7 per cent of eligible voters under 45 voted, up from 45.1 per cent in 2013.

There are 87 ridings in this election, which is the same as in the 2017 election.

Need more information?

Go to the Elections B.C. website at elections.bc.ca or call 1-800-661-8683.

For more information on Vancouver Island ridings and candidates: 

> More information on our B.C. ELECTION PAGE

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