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It’s general voting day in our first provincial election held during a pandemic.
So far, it’s been an election unlike any other because of COVID-19.
Elections BC says the number of mail-in ballots skyrocketed this year, an increase that’s unprecedented in the province’s history.
As of late Thursday night, there were nearly three-point-five million registered voters in B.C. Of those registered, just over 724,279 vote-by-mail packages were issued.
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Charles Porter says there has been a huge increase in absentee ballot requests compared to the previous election.
Elections BC also says British Columbians weren’t shy when it came to advance voting. 681,055 voters hit the polls early during advance voting, which ended Wednesday.
Registered voters should have received a “Where to Vote” card in the mail, but if you didn’t receive one, you can find your polling station on the Elections BC website or by using their App.
If you can’t make it to your designated polling station, you can vote at any polling station. You can also vote at District Offices, but those offices close at 4:00 pm.
In order to cast a ballot, you must be 18 or older by General Voting Day, a Canadian citizen, and a B.C. resident for the past six months. People going to school here, who live elsewhere, can vote if you meet the six-month requirement.
You can take a mask, and your own pencil, to the polls.
You will have to show either a single piece of Government-issued identification, that has your name, address and photo on it or two pieces of ID or documents that confirm your name, with one showing your address.
You can use things like property tax notices, school transcripts or utility bills. Electronic versions of documents on your phone are acceptable.
Voters who don’t have identification can have their identity vouched for by another person, like another voter in your district, or a close family member.
For those with disabilities, there are braille resources and plastic ballot templates at polling stations. You can also get help marking your ballot, just mention to the election official that you will need help.
There is also a vote-by-phone option, only for those who have a disability, underlying health condition, or are self-quarantining, and couldn’t vote by mail.
All voting places are wheelchair accessible. Voters who can’t enter a voting place can vote outside the building, at the curb or in the parking lot.
If you requested a mail-in ballot but didn’t get around to mailing it, you can bring it into a voting station.
If you work on Election Day, you are entitled to four consecutive hours free from work to vote. You do not have to be paid for this time if the four hours are outside of your work schedule.