In Advocacy, SCI BC News

On October 24, we’ll be heading to the polls for our provincial election. It’s no surprise, but with COVID-19, things will look a little different this time around.

To keep us all safe Elections BC has been working with the office of the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC, and has provided options for voting, as well as information about what to expect at your local voting place.

Please remember, if you are ill or self-isolating, do not visit a voting place. Instead, request a vote-by-mail package or call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 for assistance.

There Are Three Ways to Cast Your Ballot

  1. Vote in person
  • General Voting Day is Saturday, October 24. Here’s where you can find out where to vote or check the where to vote app for regular updates.
  • Advanced Polling is available from Thursday, October 15 to Wednesday, October 21.
  • You can also visit a district electoral office from now until Saturday, October 24 at 4PM.
  1. Vote by mail
  • You don’t need a special reason to vote by mail—anyone is allowed.
  • This is a great option for voters who are not comfortable voting in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. Accessible voting 
  • Accessible voting is for at-risk voters and voters with disabilities.
  • Election officials are trained on how to help voters access voting opportunities.
IF YOU’RE VOTING IN-PERSON, HERE IS WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR VOTING STATION:

 

  • 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
Here’s what you’ll be asked to do:
  • Sanitize your hands before and after voting.
  • Show your ID instead of handing it to the election official.
  • Make a verbal declaration of your eligibility to vote instead of signing a voting book.
  • Bring a mask, we’re being encouraged to wear one.
  • Bring your own pen or pencil if you like.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN VOTE BY MAIL:

 

Request your vote-by-mail package by October 17.
  • You can do this online or by calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683
You will need to provide your name, date of birth, address, and one of the following identification numbers:
  • your B.C. driver’s licence number,
  • your B.C. Identification Card number,
  • the last six digits of your Social Insurance Number or
  • the last six digits of your Personal Health Number.
Complete your vote-by-mail package
Completed vote-by-mail packages must be received by Elections BC before 8 pm PST on Saturday, October 24.
INFORMATION ABOUT ACCESSIBLE VOTING

 

Options for voting include voting by mail, assisted telephone voting, resources for hearing or sight impaired voters, translators and information about voting place accessibility. Here’s a page with more information about these options.

Assisted Telephone Voting

This is great option as the deadlines are drawing near. Find out about your eligibility to vote by assisted telephone voting by calling 1-800-661-8683.

Telephone voting is available for a limited set of voters who are unable to vote independently by other means. To vote by assisted telephone voting, your voter registration information must be up-to-date and you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • you have vision loss
  • you have a disability or underlying health condition that prevents you from voting independently
  • you are self-isolating during the last week of the campaign period and are unable to vote by mail
Voting by mail
  • Request your vote-by-mail package by October 17. You can do this online or by calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683
Getting help marking your ballot
  • In-person voters can get help marking their ballot if they have a disability or difficulty reading or writing. Tell the election official at the voting place if you need help marking your ballot.
Resources for hearing-impaired voters
  • In-person voters can get assistance from elections officials who are trained to assist voters with hearing impairment and will have visual aids available at the voting place. Voters may also be accompanied by a sign language interpreter.
Resources for blind or sight-impaired voters
  • In-person voters can be given Braille candidate lists, large print ballot posters and plastic ballot templates. These are available at all voting places to help blind or sight-impaired voters mark their ballot.
Translators
  • In-person voters can bring a translator to help them at the voting place. The translator must make a solemn declaration that they are able to act as a translator and will do so to the best of their abilities.
Voting place accessibility
  • All advance voting places and most general 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).  Be sure to call your local elections office prior to voting to ensure someone will be available to provide this service.

All of these measures have been put in place so we can safely exercise our right to vote and let our voices be heard. If you’re unsure about who to vote for, try visiting CBC’s Vote Compass. It’s a fun, interactive site that helps you see how your views align with those of the parties running for office, and may help you with your decision!

And finally, to quote our Executive Director, Chris McBride from his 2015 blog,  “Your voice, my voice, all of our voices are at the heart of our precious democracy. Today is the day to make your voice heard. So whether your colour is red, orange, blue, green or something else, whether you want change or more of the same, please let your ballot be your voice. Get out and vote.”

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