How you can vote — safely — in the provincial election

BC’s provincial election is fast approaching with general voting day on October 24.

But this election is taking place in a state of emergency — the first since the Second World War. As Elections BC works with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer to ensure a safe and accessible voting process, here’s your guide on how to vote during the pandemic.

Can I vote?

To vote in the provincial election, you must be 18 years of age or older on October 24, a Canadian citizen and you must have been a BC resident for the past six months.

How can I vote?

There are three options for voting: advanced voting, voting on election day and voting by mail.

Advanced voting

Advanced voting will take place from Thursday, October 15 to Wednesday, October 21. You can vote in the Nest or off-campus at a voting station near you. Voting stations will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

You can also vote at a district electoral office until 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 24.

General voting day

The general election is on Saturday, October 24. Voting will take place at an on-campus voting station in the Nest from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, or you can vote at an off-campus voting station.

Students are able to vote in either their home riding or the electoral district of Vancouver-Point Grey where UBC Vancouver is located.

What do I need to bring for in-person voting?

You will need valid ID that shows your name and home address. If you register to vote online before general voting day, you will get a card in the mail explaining where to vote. Bring it with you to speed up your voting process. If you did not register online, you can register at the voting station when you go to vote.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19, you may bring your own pen to mark your ballot and wear a mask. Elections BC encourages all voters to wear a mask and election workers won’t ask voters to remove their masks when voting.

Voting by mail

Not comfortable going to vote in person this year? Don’t worry, you can request a vote-by-mail package. Elections BC recommends requesting your ballot before October 17 — after that date, voters will have to visit a district electoral office.

Once your package arrives, you’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, address and one of the following identification numbers: BC driver’s licence number, BC ID number, the last six digits of your social insurance number or the last six digits of your personal health number.

If you requested your ballot before October 2, you will receive a write-in ballot. Write in the name of the candidate you’re casting a vote for or the political party the candidate is from. If you requested after October 2, you will receive a regular checkbox ballot.

Elections BC must receive your completed package by 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 24.

Services for at-risk voters and voters with disabilities

Elections BC said on its website that it’s “committed to a safe and accessible election for all voters.” Election officials are available to help with the voting process and provide services for voters with disabilities and underlying health conditions.

Aside from voting by mail, these services include translators, voting by telephone, assistance marking a ballot, resources for blind or sight-impaired folks and making voting places wheelchair accessible.

What are the safety protocols?

In addition to releasing a COVID-19 voting places plan, Elections BC has announced it will take the following precautions:

  • 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

If you’re sick or self-isolating, stay home. Instead, request a vote-by-mail package.