It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election.
First called in September by B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Votes 2020 is likely going to be one for the history books, already seeing a number of records broken when it comes to voter turnout.
Election workers at the polling station at St. Joseph’s School this morning said the turnout had been sparse, but steady. Voters leaving the station said the process was seamless and felt very safe.
Voters are entering through the front doors of the school and exiting through the back.
Andrew Watson, communications director for Elections BC, told Black Press Media that “safe voting has been the focus” during this snap election.
“Voters can feel confident in the process we’ve put in place,” he said, noting staff have all been given personal protective equipment to wear, hand sanitizing stations are set up for voters and everyone is encouraged to wear a mask while casting their ballot – although it’s not mandatory.
He said turnout was steady through the morning, but the “record turnout” for advanced voting and vote-by-mail meant that fewer people were voting on Election Day. No long lines or other issues were reported at polling stations through the morning.
“Please get out and vote,” Watson said, adding anyone who requires assistance with finding their polling station or any other step in the voting process can contact Elections BC directly at 1-800-661-8683.
Roughly 681,000 people cast their ballot during the seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017.
Meanwhile, 478,900 returned vote-by-mail packages had been received by Elections BC by Oct. 22, representing 66 per cent of the packages requested.
It is expected that some ridings will see preliminary results as to which candidate will likely take a seat in the B.C. Legislature by the end of day Saturday. Meanwhile, close races will have to wait until mid-November for the winner to be declared, once mail-in ballots are counted by Elections BC officials after Nov. 6.
Haven’t voted? There’s still time. Here’s what you need to know:
STIKINE POLLING LOCATIONS:
District Electoral Office, 1330 Main Street, Smithers, Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Joseph’s Elementary School, 4054 Broadway Ave., Smithers, Opern 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Glenwood Community Hall, 13804 Telkwa High Road, Smithers, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Paul Lychak Evelyn Community Hall, 10162 Engman Rd., Smithers, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Telkwa Community Hall, 1380 Birch St., Telkwa, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Round Lake Hall, 13706 Round Lake Rd., Telkwa, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Moricetown Multiplex – Mini Feast Room, 205 Beaver Rd, Witset, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
United Church of Gitsegukla, 190 Cascade St. Gitsegukla 1, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
New Hazelton Community Centre, 4633 10th Ave., New Hazelton, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mount Rocher Church, 2060 Broadway Ave., South Hazelton, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Gitksan Wet’suwet’en Education Society, 4125 River Rd., Hazelton, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kitwanga Curling Club, 2754 Mill Rd., Kitwanga, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Gitwangak Community Centre, 216 Kitwanga West Rd., Kitwanga, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sik-E-Dakh Community Hall, 8500 Sik-E-Dakh Rd., Glen Vowell, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Gitanyow Independent School, 110 Fourth Ave., Gitanyow, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kispiox Community Hall, 1296 Lax Seel St., Kispiox, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kispiox Valley Community Centre, 2489 Kispiox Valley Rd., Kispiox, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
King Edward Hotel, 405 5th Ave., Stewart, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Iskut Band Office, 35 Iskut Village Rd., Iskut, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Telegraph Creek Community Hall, 15 Sawtooth Rd., Telegraph Creek, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dease Lake Community Hall, 2102 1st Ave., Dease Lake, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dease River Band Office, 7 Good Hope Lake Band Rd., Good Hope Lake, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Denetia Elementary School, J St., Lower Post, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Atlin Recreation Centre, Sinclair Ave., Atlin, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Candidates running in the riding:
Nathan Cullen, BC NDP
Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party
Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals
Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage Party of BC
While eligible voters don’t have to register ahead of time to take part in the election.
To be eligible, British Columbians must be able to 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
Health rules for voting during COVID-19:
All voting places and district electoral offices will have protective measures in place, including:
- 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
– with files from Ashley Wadhwani