Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election.

First called in September by BC NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Votes 2020 is likely going to be one for the history books, already seeing a number of records broken when it comes to voter turnout.

Roughly 681,000 people cast their ballot during the seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017.

Meanwhile, 478,900 returned vote-by-mail packages had been received by Elections BC by Oct. 22, representing 66 per cent of the packages requested.

It is expected that some ridings will see preliminary results as to which candidate will likely take a seat in the B.C. Legislature by the end of day Saturday. Meanwhile, close races will have to wait until mid-November for the winner to be declared, once mail-in ballots are counted by Elections BC officials after Nov. 6.

Haven’t voted? There’s still time. Here’s what you need to know:

The boundary of the two local electoral districts, Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent divides the City of Chilliwack in half. Make sure you know which riding you live in before you go to the polls.

• READ MORE: Which riding do you live in — Chilliwack or Chilliwack-Kent?

Chilliwack polling locations:

Voting places will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Bernard Elementary School, 45465 Bernard Ave.

Chilliwack Alliance Church, 8700 Young Rd.

Chilliwack Senior Secondary School, 46363 Yale Rd.

Evans Elementary School, 7600 Evans Rd.

First Avenue Church, 46510 First Ave.

Greendale Community Elementary School, 6621 Sumas Prairie Rd.

McCammon Traditional School, 9601 Hamilton St.

Sardis Secondary School, 45460 Stevenson Rd.

Strathcona Elementary School, 46375 Strathcona Rd.

Yarrow Community Elementary School, 4595 Wilson Rd.

Candidates running in the riding of Chilliwack:

• READ MORE: BC VOTES: Chilliwack provincial election candidates Q&A

Josue Anderson – Independent

Andrew Coombes – BC Libertarian

Tim Cooper – BC Green

Dan Coulter – BC NDP

Diane Janzen – BC Conservative

John Martin – BC Liberal

Chilliwack-Kent polling locations:

Agassiz Agricultural Association Hall, 6800 Pioneer Ave, Kent

Chilliwack Fish & Game Association Hall, 48685 Chilliwack Lake Rd.

Cultus Lake Community School, 71 Sunnyside Blvd., Cultus Lake

East Chilliwack Elementary School, 49190 Chilliwack Central Rd.

Harrison Hot Springs Memorial Hall, 290 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Mills Community Hall, 1995 School Rd., Kent

Mt. Slesse Middle School, 5871 Tyson Rd., Chilliwack

Promontory Heights Community School, 46200 Stoneview Dr.

Rosedale Traditional Community School, 50850 Yale Rd., Chilliwack

Ryder Lake Farmers & Womens Institute Hall, 49265 Elk View Rd.

Sardis Elementary School, 45775 Manuel Rd.

Tzeachten Community Hall, 45855 Promontory Rd.

Watson Elementary School, 45305 Watson Rd.

Candidates running in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent:

• READ MORE: BC VOTES: Chilliwack-Kent provincial election candidates Q&A

Eli Gagné – BC Libertarian

Jeff Hammersmark – BC Green

Jason Lum – Independent

Kelli Paddon – BC NDP

Laurie Throness – Independent

Voter registration:

While eligible voters don’t have to register ahead of time to take part in the election, Elections BC recommends British Columbians sign up ahead of time in order to avoid lengthy lineups.

Voters can register or update their information online at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling 1-800-661-8683. Registration closed on Sept. 26.

To be eligible, British Columbians must be able to show one of the following pieces of identification:

  • A B.C. driver’s licence
  • A B.C. Identification Card
  • A B.C. Services Card, with photo
  • A Certificate of Indian Status
  • Another card issued by the B.C. government, or Canada, that shows your name, photo and address

Health rules for voting during COVID-19:

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

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., after those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 5,809 number of mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Chilliwack riding, and 7,650 in Chilliwack-Kent. There are 37,676 registered voters in Chilliwack and 43,698 in Chilliwack-Kent.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 22.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani


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