B.C. election 2017: how, when and where to vote

Ballot box.
Stock photo of a ballot box.. File Photo

B.C. voters are on the cusp of choosing their next provincial government next week.

They will elect 87 people to represent them in B.C.’s Legislative Assembly in Victoria.

There’s plenty to know about the voting process before election day.

Story continues below advertisement

So Global News has rounded up info from Elections BC so that no one is confused when it comes time to cast your ballot.

Here are some important bits of info to take note of before British Columbians go to the polls:

How/when do I vote?

B.C. voters go to the polls on General Voting Day, which happens on May 9.

Polling stations will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT.

You can enter your address in this map to find out where to go to choose your MLA.

Chamber staff put the orders of the day on the desk of cabinet members before the B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong delivers the budget at the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, B.C. on Feb. 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Keeners, however, can cast their ballots early at any advance voting stations that are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT on May 4, 5 and 6.

Story continues below advertisement

They can use the same map to find out where to vote as they would for General Voting Day.

Can I mail in my vote?

Yes, you can. You’re allowed to ask for a vote-by-mail package anytime until 4 p.m. on General Voting Day.

Voters can request them by using an online form or by calling 1-800-661-8683.

A Canada Post mailbox. File/Global News

It is, however, every voter’s job to ensure their package is received by 8 p.m. on May 9. Any packages received after that won’t be counted toward the results in any riding.

If you’re not sure you’ll be able to hand your package in on time, call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683.

READ MORE: B.C. election campaigns ramp up in final week

Can I vote over the phone?

Yes, under certain circumstances.

Story continues below advertisement

Voters who have lost their vision or have disabilities which make it difficult for them to vote independently can call 1-800-661-8683 on weekdays from April 19 to May 8 between noon and 6 p.m.

On General Voting Day, they can call the number from noon to 4 p.m.

Voters casting their ballots by phone must have their voting registration information up to date.

What’s my riding?

If you’re not sure which riding you’re voting in, you can use Elections BC’s “Electoral District Explorer,” which divides a provincial map into its ridings.

You can enter your address into the search box at the top right hand corner of the page.

An electoral map of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Elections BC

Registered voters will also receive “Where to Vote” cards that tells them the locations of nearby polling stations.

Story continues below advertisement

Who can vote?

You need to meet three criteria to vote in the B.C. election:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be a B.C. resident for the past six months

READ MORE: B.C. election 2017: a look at promises made by BC Liberals, BC NDP and BC Green parties

What ID do I need?

You have a few options for identifying yourself at a voting station.

The first is to present any of the following ID:

  • A B.C. driver’s licence
  • A B.C. Services Card with a photo
  • A B.C. identification card
  • Any other card that’s been issued by the Government of B.C. or Canada that shows your name, your photo and your address
  • A Certificate of Indian Status

The second is to present any two pieces of ID or documents that display your name, like the following:

  • A B.C. CareCard
  • A birth certificate
  • A passport
  • An Old Age Security ID card
  • A property tax assessment
  • A Canada Child Tax Benefit statement
  • A student card
  • A provincial “Where to Vote” card

Finally, you can also have someone vouch for you at a voting station.

Story continues below advertisement

Any of the following people can vouch for other voters:

  • A family member such as a spouse, parent, grandparent, adult child, adult grandchild or adult sibling
  • A registered voter in the person’s electoral district
  • Someone who has the authority to make personal care decisions for the voter
Reporters watch the British Columbia election leadership live radio debate with NDP Leader John Horgan, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on a television in Vancouver, Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Reporters watch the British Columbia election leadership live radio debate with NDP Leader John Horgan, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on a television in Vancouver, Thursday, April 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Do I have to show my face to vote?

No, but you do have to provide proof of your identity and an address.

What if I have two pieces of ID that show different genders?

That’s fine. You can still use the ID so long as the names and addresses on them match the name and address that you’ve registered under.

What do I do if I have a disability?

If you have any difficulty marking a ballot, you can ask an election official at a voting station to help you out.

Story continues below advertisement

Blind voters can access Braille candidate lists, as well as ballot posters in large print and plastic ballot templates.

Elections BC has also made ballots bigger so that it’s easier to read them.

READ MORE: B.C. election 2017: full ridings list

Do I need to register before I vote?

Yes, and you can do that online, or you can call 1-800-661-8683.

If you’re not registered and you’re eligible to vote, you can register at any voting place before you vote.

What do I do if I live on a university campus?

If you’re in university, you can register and vote in the riding you’re living in, or the riding you live in when you don’t go to school.

The UBC campus. University of British Columbia

What if I want to vote in B.C.?

You would have had to be living in the province for six months before voting day.

Story continues below advertisement

You also have to use the address you’re living at while going to school.

Can I take time off work to vote?

Yes. You’re entitled to four consecutive hours in which you can vote, anytime within voting hours, which last from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT.

Now, you’re not supposed to use this as an excuse to miss half of an eight-hour work day.

You can take the time at the start or end of a shift, but you may not need this time off if your hours already give you enough free time to cast a ballot.

Say you start work at noon, or you finish work at 4 p.m. You don’t receive any time off if this is the case. Your employer can decide when you’re able to take time off to vote.

Your employer can’t, however, deduct your pay for the time you took to vote.

What if I live in a remote area that’s too far from a voting station?

Then you’re not entitled to the time off to vote.

Sponsored content