It’s Election Time!
Questions to the Party Leaders
Inclusion BC wrote to the three main political parties to find out where they stand on issues important to people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Inclusion BC asked parties to respond by October 16th.
How the Parties Responded:
You can Vote!
This is a plain language video about the process of voting in the BC provincial election.
On October 14, 2020, Inclusion BC welcomed Melanie Callas, Outreach Coordinator with Elections BC, to host the 5th webinar in our Virtual Learning Series.
Melanie talked about the voting process and answered questions about voting and the election.
Information & Participation Guide
**Important: Visit Elections BC website (https://elections.bc.ca/) for more information about voting. Inclusion BC will do our best to update this webpage but things can change fast during Covid.**
What’s in this guide
Click on the links below to jump to a section
- Questions & answers about voting
- Who can vote?
- How do I get on the voters’ list?
- Can I Vote by Mail?
- How do I get a Vote-by-Mail Package?
- How do I fill out my Vote-by-Mail Package?
- Where do I return my voting package?
- If I am not on the voters’ list on Election Day can I still vote?
- Can I vote on any other days?
- Where do I vote on Election Day?
- What if I am unable to vote independently?
- How do I vote at the polling station?
- Is it Safe to Vote In-Person?
- What if I need help when I vote?
- How do I get voting information?
- Political parties & their leaders
About the provincial election
The BC election will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020. During the election, each political party can put forward a candidate in every voting region or area (called ridings).
Voting allows you to choose who you think will best represent you and your community.
You vote for the candidate you want. The candidate that gets the most votes becomes a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). That MLA represents the people in your Riding. The party that gets the most MLAs elected forms the Government. The party with fewer MLAs elected forms the Opposition.
Your choice helps decide who will form the government in BC.
Everyone who is a Canadian Citizen has lived in BC for the last six months and who is 18 years of age or older on voting day has the right to vote in this election. This package gives you some ideas about how to get involved in the election. It explains some things about how an election works.
Please share this information with your friends.
Voting for the first time can be a little scary because often people do not know what to expect. This guide will help you understand what voting is about and why it is important. We hope this information will help make your voting experience a good one.
Questions & answers about voting
Who can vote?
Every person who is a Canadian citizen, 18 years or older on voting day, and has lived in BC for the last six months can vote in this election. You also have to live in the riding where you are voting.
How do I get on the voters’ list?
If you are already on the voters’ list you will receive a voting card in the mail. If you do not receive a voting card, call Elections BC (1-800-661-8683). They will tell you how to get on the voters’ list. You can get on the voters list when you vote in person.
Can I Vote by Mail?
Yes. This year many people are choosing to vote by mail because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Anyone who wants to and is registered to vote can vote by mail.
Your vote-by-mail package must be received by Elections BC by 8:00 PM on October 24th.
How do I get a Vote-by-Mail Package?
- Visit this website: https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx#
- Or call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683
How do I fill out my Vote-by-Mail Package?
Visit the Elections BC website to learn how to vote by mail: https://elections.bc.ca/voting/how-to-vote-by-mail/
Many vote-by-mail ballots will look different than in-person ballots. If you requested your ballot before candidates had been chosen on October 2nd, you will need to write the name of the candidate, or the party they belong to.
Here is more information about how to mark your write-in ballot:
Where do I return my voting package?
You can return your vote-by-mail package in person at any district electoral office, voting locations, and certain Service BC locations.
You can also return your voting package by mail. All packages include a paid return envelope. But remember, it has to be received by Elections BC by October 24th, 2020. Visit the Elections BC website for up to date, accurate information about voting by mail:
If I am not on the voters’ list on Election Day can I still vote?
Yes. If you do not get on the voters’ list before the Election, you can register to vote at the polling station when you vote. However, there may be long line-ups and you will need two pieces of I.D. with your name, address, and signature. Check this link to see the list of documents that are acceptable:
Can I vote on any other days?
Advance voting is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. From October 15th – 24th. You can also vote at any time, at any district electoral office until 4:00 pm on October 24th. Find a list of electoral offices here: https://elections.bc.ca/voting/deo-office-locations/
Where do I vote on Election Day?
On Election Day you vote at a place called a “polling station”. The address of the polling station will be sent to you in the mail along with your voters’ card. Polling stations can be schools, town halls, or other places in your community where people gather. If you don’t get this information, call your Elections BC office and ask them where to vote.
What if I am unable to vote independently?
Because of Covid-19, many people may not have access to the support they need to vote. Telephone voting is available for a limited set of voters who are unable to vote independently. To vote by telephone, your voter registration information must be up to date and you must meet one of these criteria:
- You have hearing loss
- You have a disability or underlying health condition that prevents you from voting independently
- You are self-isolating during the last week of the campaign period and you cannot vote by mail
Visit the Elections BC website for more information:
How do I vote at the polling station?
- Take your I.D. and/or your voters’ card to the polling station. You can bring either one piece of I.D. issued by the Government that has your name, photo and address OR you can bring two documents that have your name on them. One of those has to have your address too. Check this link to see the list of documents that are acceptable:
- Someone will give you a piece of paper with the names of all the people you can vote for. This is called a “ballot”.
- Pick one person you want to vote for and put a mark (X) inside the circle beside their name. If you have a visual impairment or if you are blind, you can get a special cardboard ballot with holes on it to make voting easier for you.
- After you mark your ballot put it in the box. Remember, you can only vote for one person. If you put more than one mark on your ballot it will not count.
Is it Safe to Vote In-Person?
Elections BC will have new rules at polling stations to keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. These will include things like distancing and sanitizing hands. Read about the new rules here:
- You can wear a mask if you wish. You won’t have to take it off when you vote
- Do not go to a polling station if you are sick or self-isolating. Request a vote-by-mail package or call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 for help
- Follow safety instructions when you arrive at the polling station. There will be people there and signs to help you stay safe while voting.
What if I need help when I vote?
You can bring someone you trust to help you vote, or ask one of the staff at the polling station to help you.
You can bring someone you trust with you to help you vote. The person you choose has to sign a declaration that they are there to assist the voter with a disability. Or, you can ask one of the staff at the polling station to help you. This person can read you the names or help you mark your ballot.
How do I get voting information?
Phone Elections BC and ask them to send you information. Tell them if you want LARGE PRINT or digital information. OR visit the Elections BC website:
If you have a visual impairment you can get a special “Braille Template” (special cardboard with holes on it to make voting easier for you). Also, you can get information on TV watching the news. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, phone TDD/ TTY: 1-888-456-5448
Elections BC is also on Facebook:
Political parties & their leaders
In this election, people vote for the person they want to speak for them in the Government of BC. This person usually belongs to a “political party”.
Every political party has a Leader, but the Leader’s name is probably not on the ballot. The ballot only has the name of the local candidate in your area and the political party.
There are many political parties registered in BC, but only four of those parties run candidates in almost every riding. There are also many candidates running as an independent, which means they don’t belong to any political party. Phone Elections BC or visit their website to find out which parties have candidates in your riding.
If you want to know more about the candidates who are running for election in your community, visit their campaign offices or go to an all-candidates meeting. If you have access to the Internet you can look up websites for each party. These websites will have information on each party’s platform. A platform talks about what the party believes and the things that they will do if they are elected.