Figuring out which B.C. electoral district you live in


For those in a hurry, here's Elections B.C.'s "What's my electoral district?" webpage. Reflections on what that page has to offer are below.  

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Many of us are uncertain about which provincial riding we live in for voting in the May 9 election. I came to that conclusion because I didn’t know mine. An informal survey of 20 people backed me up. Half of them told me that they didn’t know their riding name. Four had a ballpark idea. Six were confident in their answers, though one of them confessed that he only knew because he had just driven by a candidate’s sign. Another said that she knew because her MLA, Andrew Weaver, is constantly in the news.

One of the reasons for uncertainty is that the name of an electoral district doesn’t necessarily describe the area it covers. Also, in some instances, boundaries and riding names have changed.

I thought that I live in Saanich South. But, upon examining a map, I found that it’s actually Victoria-Swan Lake, near its northern border. I’m in that riding even though I live in Saanich.

A colleague is in the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head, but she lives in Victoria.

To see what area your riding covers, you can examine the maps at the Elections B.C. website.

Try the quirky British Columbia Electoral District Explorer application. Using it is a little convoluted. Type your address into the search field in the upper right of the screen if you’re on a desktop computer. A list of addresses will appear in a column on the left. Click on your address. A map will appear, showing a small dot at the location of your home along with the name of your riding. The name of another riding might also appear if you live near a riding boundary; ignore that, look for the dot.

The British Columbia Electoral District Explorer also works on mobile devices, such as an iPhone. In my testing, the search box wasn’t visible until I touched an arrow at the upper right of the screen.

You can phone Elections B.C. at 1-800-661-8683 and have them look up your riding.

Registered voters will be getting confirmation of their ridings soon, through the voter cards that Elections B.C. mails out with instructions on where to vote. But, according to the Elections B.C. website, your electoral district won’t be spelled out. Instead, a code will be printed on the card, such as VTS, which stands for Victoria-Swan Lake. You can look up the codes here.

The codes for the seven Greater Victoria electoral districts are:
SAN - Saanich North and the Islands
SAS - Saanich South
VTS - Victoria-Swan Lake
VTB - Victoria-Beacon Hill
OBG - Oak Bay-Gordon Head
ESM - Esquimalt-Metchosin
LJF - Langford-Juan de Fuca

It would be more straightforward if you could go to a website with a search field front-and-centre, type in your address, and have the name of your riding pop up, along with a map of your riding. But I’m not aware of a website that does that.

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Elections B.C.’s “What’s my electoral district” page.

May 9 B.C. election: What you need to know

B.C. election stories

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My earlier blog postings.

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