A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)

A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)

Large segment of Chilliwack voters opting to vote by mail

Mirroring a province-wide trend, Chilliwackians look to avoid in-person voting during pandemic

Chilliwack is reflecting a province-wide trend, with a dramatic increase in voting by mail.

In all of B.C. during the 2017 provincial election, Elections B.C. said 6,517 people chose to vote by mail. As of Tuesday (Oct. 13), with the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, 7,204 people are doing that in the Chilliwack-Kent riding alone. That represents 16.5 per cent of the riding’s 43,698 registered voters.

The Chilliwack riding has 5,411 people requesting vote-by-mail packages, representing 14 per cent of the riding’s 37,676 registered voters.

The local ridings are just a touch below the provincial average.

According to Elections B.C., 670,033 people province-wide are looking to vote by mail, representing 19 per cent of B.C.’s 3,485,858 registered voters.

READ MORE: Leaders of B.C.’s three main political parties to take part in televised debate

READ MORE: All-candidates meeting of Oct. 14 to take on both Chilliwack ridings

A few minutes up the freeway, Abbotsford’s three ridings are showing similar results.

Sixteen per cent of Abbotsford-Mission’s 47,043 registered voters have requested vote-by-mail packages.

Thirteen per cent of Abbotsford-South’s 44,896 registered voters, and 12 per cent of Abbotsford-West’s voters have done the same.

Voters have until election day on Oct. 24 to get their vote-by-mail package back to Elections B.C..

Elections B.C. recommends voters have their ballot in the mail by Oct. 17.

If voters miss that deadline, Elections B.C. recommends returning packages in person to a designated drop-off location, or voting in person during advance voting or on election day. Designated drop-off locations include district electoral offices, voting places during voting hours, and some Service B.C. locations.

Vote-by-mail packages must be destroyed by anyone who changes their mind and opts to vote in person.


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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BC politicsBC Votes 2020chilliwack