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How Metro Vancouverites can vote by mail in October’s municipal elections

Residents of most Metro Vancouver municipalities will have the ability to vote by mail in the upcoming civic election.
Residents of most Metro Vancouver municipalities will have the ability to vote by mail in the upcoming civic election. THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE/Darren Calabrese

For the first time, all eligible voters in many Metro Vancouver municipalities, including Surrey and Vancouver, will be able to cast their ballot by mail in the upcoming civic election.

The shift in policy comes after provincial and federal elections were successfully conducted using vote-by-mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, voters had generally only been allowed to vote by mail if they had a disability or illness that could affect their ability to make it to the polls, or would be out of town on election day.

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In Vancouver, voters can now begin requesting vote-by-mail packages. Voters must apply for their package by Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. if they want it mailed to them, or Tuesday Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. if they can pick it up from the Vancouver Election Office at 305 W. 8 Ave. or a designated community centre drop box.

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The packages have free postage.

Voters are reminded that any package mailed late and that doesn’t arrive before 8 p.m. on Oct. 15, election day, will not be counted. Packages can be returned in person until that time.

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In Surrey, voters can request a ballot package between Sept. 12 and Oct. 12. The city say sit will start mailing them out on Sept. 26. After Oct. 5, the only way to receive one will be to pick it up in person.

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Like in Vancouver, any ballot that doesn’t reach election officials by 8 p.m. on Oct. 15 won’t be counted.

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Ballots can be returned in person to city hall between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, or at drop boxes at city hall seven days a week after hours.

Numerous other Metro Vancouver municipalities are also offering vote by mail, each with specific deadlines and details for in-person ballot return.

Those include Burnaby, Richmond, the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, West Vancouver, New Westminster, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, Delta, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra, and Bowen Island.

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