Just like that, we’re into the final days of the 42nd Provincial General Election.
With advance voting now closed, Elections BC reports 4,484 out of 21,960 registered Cariboo North voters cast their ballot between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21.
Where to vote
While advance voting is over, there is still time to vote at the Cariboo North District Electoral Office, which is located at 1089 Highway 97 North. The office is open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can vote there up until Saturday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m.
On Election Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, polls will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
There are 17 general voting locations in Cariboo North this year, including: Barlow Creek Community Hall, Big Lake Community Hall, Bouchie Lake Community Hall, Correlieu Secondary School, Dragon Lake Elementary School, Horsefly Community Hall, Kersley Community Hall, Lakeview Elementary School, Likely Community Hall, McLeese Lake Community Hall, Miocene Community Hall, Nazko Valley Community Centre, Parkland Recreation Commission, Quesnel and District Seniors Centre, Wells Community Hall, and Wildwood Fire Hall.
Voters have an assigned voting place. Normally, it is faster to vote at your assigned voting place, but you can vote at another voting place if it is more convenient to you, according to Elections BC.
Find your assigned voting place online at elections.bc.ca/voting/where-to-vote, on the Elections BC Where to Vote app or on the Where to Vote card that should have arrived in the mail.
To make it easier to get to the polls, the City of Quesnel and B.C. Transit are providing free transit service all day Oct 24. Free bus rides will be available throughout the Quesnel transit system. Find information about routes and schedules online at bctransit.com/quesnel or check the Rider’s Guide.
What to bring
If you have not yet registered to vote, it is still possible to register in person on Election Day. To register to vote in British Columbia, you must be:
• 18 or older by General Voting Day,
• a Canadian citizen, and
• a B.C. resident for the past six months as of General Voting Day.
All voters must prove their identity and residential address before voting. Voters are also encouraged to bring their Where to Vote card with them to make voting faster and easier.
Voters can 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
Another option is for voters to bring two pieces of identification or documents that both show their name. At least one must have their current address. Examples include government-issued identification such as a birth certificate or B.C. CareCard; other government-issued documents such as an income tax assessment notice or a statement of Old Age Security; school documents such as a post-secondary institution admissions letter or a student card; and other documents, such as a utility bill or a personal cheque printed by the bank. Electronic documents and an electronic scan of a paper document are acceptable.
Thirdly, voters who don’t have identification can have their identity vouched for by another person. Requirements for this option are listed at elections.bc.ca/voting/voter-id.
What to expect
Voting in 2020 will look a little different than what we’re used to, and pandemic voting protocols will include physical distancing, capacity limits at polling stations, protective barriers, and frequent cleaning of voting stations. Election officials will also be given personal protective equipment, including masks and face visors.
To prevent close contact, some familiar voting procedures may also be different than years’ past, Elections BC has said.
“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,” according to Elections BC.
Voters are asked to follow the instructions from election officials and follow signage in the voting place to help maintain physical distancing. Voters will also be asked to sanitize their hands before and after voting.
“You may use your own pen or pencil to mark your ballot, if you wish,” according to Elections BC. “You are welcome to wear a face mask, if you wish. You will not be asked to remove your mask to vote.”
The pandemic voting protocols are not the only things that will be different in this year’s election, as the record number of mail-in ballots cast in 2020 — more than 700,000 requested by Oct. 19 — mean the results that generally would be available hours after polls close will be delayed for weeks while the votes are counted.
Current legislation means the counting can’t start until 13 days after the election, according to Elections B.C. spokesman Andrew Watson.
“Those time periods could take longer, given the really unprecedented and historic volume of mail-in ballots,” he has said.
— with files from Ashley Wadhwani and The Canadian Press