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Downtown Eastside residents will be able to use pill bottles, inhalers as ID at voting stations

A medical prescription, like one found on a pill bottle or inhaler, now qualifies as one of the two pieces of identification required to cast a ballot in the provincial election May 14.

While prescriptions will be accepted as voting identification province-wide, they will be a particularly valuable asset in helping residents of the Downtown Eastside.

Jay Stewart. manager of community engagement at the Union Gospel Mission, said the change was “definitely a step in the right direction.”

“Anything that we as a community of not-for-profits and social services and Elections BC can do to eliminate barriers that keep people from voting is absolutely a positive,” said Stewart.

The change is just an advance on the previous requirements, which had accepted hospital bracelets or documents as ID, explained Andrew Watson of Elections BC.

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“We basically have accepted other documents that are based on Care Card information as one piece of identification,” said Watson.

“Since the prescription is also based on Care Card information, it makes sense to accept that as well,” he said. “It really comes down to accessibility [to voting].”

Only one piece of ID is required if that identification is issued by the Government of B.C. or Canada and contains the voter’s name, photograph and residential address. Qualifying as that ID would be a driver’s license, B.C. Identification Card, B.C. Services Card or Certificate of Indian Status.

Without those documents, voters need two pieces of identification — which now include prescriptions.

There is a long list of the valid documents available on the Internet at www.elections.bc.ca, but both must contain the voter’s name and one must have the voter’s address.