British Columbians will return to the polls this fall after incumbent premier John Horgan called for a provincial general election on Oct. 24.
This year's voting experience will look decidedly different, however. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections BC is working with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC to ensure the election is conducted safely.
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
Voters should also expect a few other differences in the voting procedure. For example, you will show your identification without handing it to an election official, and you will make a verbal declaration of your eligibility to vote instead of signing a voting book.
Elections BC asks that you follow the instructions from officials and the signage in the voting place to help maintain physical distancing. You will also be asked to sanitize your hands before and after voting.
While you are not required to wear a mask to vote, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advises you to wear one in all instances where it will not be possible to maintain a safe physical distance. You will not be asked to remove your mask to vote.
If you are ill or self-isolating, do not visit a voting place. Request a vote-by-mail package or call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 for assistance.
Here are the ways to vote in this year's election:
Vote in person: You may vote in person on General Voting Day on Saturday, Oct. 24, in advance from Thursday, Oct. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 21, or at a district electoral office from now until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24. We have added additional advance voting opportunities to reduce the number of voters in voting places. Find out more about Where to Vote or check the Where to Vote app for regular updates.
Vote by mail: All voters can vote by mail: you don’t need a special reason. Voting by mail is a great option for voters who are not comfortable voting in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contact Elections BC to request a vote-by-mail package as soon as possible. Your package will be mailed to you. You can ask for one by:
- Requesting a vote-by-mail package online
- Calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683
Keep in mind, vote-by-mail packages cannot be dropped off at Service BC locations in Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby or Masset. Voters in these areas wishing to return their package in person should return it at a district electoral office or voting place.
You may also return your package by mail. A postage-paid return envelope is provided for voters in Canada. If mailing from outside of Canada, you must provide the necessary postage.
Accessible voting for at-risk voters and voters with disabilities: These options include curbside voting, assisted telephone voting, and site-based voting.